A black and white image showing a couple is viral on social media with the claim that it shows a young Nancy Pelosi, United States House speaker, with Chinese journalist and former editor of Global Times Hu Xijin.
BOOM found this claim to be false; the image has been doctored by putting together an image of Pelosi, and an image of Xijin from two different photos.
The image is being shared in the backdrop of Pelosi's recent visit to Taiwan, making her the highest US official to visit the country, and creating a political and diplomatic stir between US and China.
The image was shared on Twitter by a user, with the caption, "When they were young: Nancy Pelosi and Hu Xijin."
Click here to view an archive of the above tweet.
The photo had over 200 retweets, and nearly 1,500 likes at the time of publishing this article. While many users appeared to react to the post in jest, and some others questioned the veracity of the claim, many others seemed to accept the photo as real.
Upon observing the viral photo closely, we observed that the photo of the woman seemed sharper and less pixelated than the photo of the man. This led us to the possibility that the photo might have been composed of two different pictures.
So, we cropped out the pictures of the woman and man in the photo into two separate images, and then ran each of them through a reverse image search.
The picture of the woman led us to an image on photo-hosting website Flickr, which showed the same image of the woman sitting with a larger group of people. The man seen in the viral image was not seen in this photo. The Flickr photo, which appears to be run by an account purportedly belonging to Pelosi herself, was titled, "With family as a young girl."
Taking cue from this, we ran a keyword search with "young nancy pelosi with family" to look for possible news reports confirming the context behind the photo.
We found a Washington Post article, dedicated to Nancy Pelosi, which contained the same image uploaded to Flickr.
We then ran the photo of the man in the viral photo through a reverse image search, and came up with a tweet by Hu Xijin himself.
Hu tweeted the image on August 1, 2020, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army.
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