FACT CHECK: Did China Threaten To Shoot Down Nancy Pelosi’s Plane If She Visits Taiwan?
A post shared on Instagram claims China threatened to shoot down U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plane if she visits Taiwan.
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Fact Check: Misleading
That specific threat was made by a Chinese journalist in a since-deleted tweet. The Chinese government warned of military action if Pelosi traveled to the island, but did not explicitly say it would shoot down her plane.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan Tuesday evening local time, making her the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since 1997, according to The New York Times. Her visit comes despite numerous Chinese threats and warnings to not visit the island, which China considers its territory, the outlet reported.
A post shared on Instagram and liked over 5,200 times claims the Chinese threatened to kill her if she went through with the trip. “China threatens to shoot Nancy Pelosi’s plane down if she visits Taiwan,” reads text featured in the July 30 post. “BREAKING China says they will shoot down Pelosi’s plane if she goes to Taiwan. Would you miss Nancy?” the post’s caption reads.
This claim is missing context. While there was a threat made against Pelosi’s plane, it did not stem from the Chinese government. Rather, it originated with a since-deleted tweet from Chinese journalist Hu Xijin, who works for the state-run media outlet Global Times. Bloomberg described him as a “leading propagandist for the Chinese government.” (RELATED: Did Kevin McCarthy Say That Nancy Pelosi ‘Should Be Jailed And Prosecuted’?)
“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion,” reads the July 29 tweet. “The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down.”
There is, however, no indication that this was an official threat made by the Chinese government. Chinese officials have instead chosen to be less specific with their threats. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned of “very serious developments and consequences” should Pelosi visit Taiwan and said that “China is standing by, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by, and China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to CBS News.
Upon Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan, China began a series of live-fire military drills around the island, according to Reuters.
Check Your Fact has contacted the U.S. embassy in China for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.