A short clip of Uyghur children lying in cylindrical glass pods recently circulated on Twitter, with claims that they were being “imprisoned and brutalized” in Chinese concentration camps, stirring outrage.
After tracking down an extended version clip, Asia Fact Check Lab (AFCL) found that the glass pods were actually oxygen chambers, probably in a hospital. Subsequent interviews with medical specialists revealed that the child in the original tweet was actually receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, not being subjected to torture.
The tweet in question was posted on April 15, 2023, by Jie Lijian, a U.S.-based pro-democracy activist with over 46,000 Twitter followers. It shows a short video in which two children are shown lying on their backs in cylindrical glass pods. A nurse can be seen opening and closing a door to one of the pods in the background.
The tweet soon attracted over 100,000 readers and was subsequently retweeted by more than 300 people. Some outraged netizens denounced the Chinese Communist Party as “inhumane” while others questioned the authenticity of the video and suggested that “truth, not lies, should be used to fight the CCP.”
Lijian’s caption to the video reads, “Poor Uyghur children are being imprisoned and brutalized in CCP concentration camps. Many of their parents confined in the camps are undergoing genocidal persecution, unable even to see their own flesh and blood at the end of their lives. # CCP is the enemy of humanity.”
Many commenters urged Lijian to be careful in his remarks, suggesting that the video appeared to be some sort of medical procedure rather than torture.
What exactly are the glass pods in the video?
AFCL used Yandex’s image search engine to trace the source of the clip, eventually finding two earlier posts on Twitter which used the same video later posted by Lijian. Both posts were made by Japanese netizens, but differed in their interpretation of the video’s content.