Anyone can publish on Medium per our Policies, but we don’t fact-check every story. For more info about the coronavirus, see

False: This video does not show an anti-China rally in Italy

Chen Li
Chen Li
Mar 5 · 3 min read

This video purportedly showing an anti-China protest amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy has been circulating on social media since Feb. 23.

The video can be found on Twitter (here and here), on Facebook, and on Youtube. Together it has been viewed more than 300,000 times and shared thousands of times.

The original tweet used the video as proof that an anti-China movement had started in Italy. This claim is false. The rally has nothing to do with China.

It was an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Valerio Verbano, an Italian left-wing activist murdered in 1980. The procession took place in Rome on Feb. 22.

The footage shows people waving flags. Annie Lab identified one of them as an anti-fascist flag.

Pagella Politica, a fact-checking organization in Italy, helped to locate the street in the video. It was taken at 24 Via di Valle Melaina in Rome and the footage was shot from the top of the stairs in the picture below.

24 Via di Valle Melaina

There are other identifiable features that matched the scenes in the video such as the railings, the trees, and the building in the background.

The trees and the building in the background:

A Youtube video found by Pagella Politica shows the procession in the same street.

The rally began in the afternoon of Feb. 22. The video in question was first uploaded to Twitter half a day later.

Although the video in question does not show an anti-China protest in Italy, Annie Lab cannot confirm that no such event has taken place in the country in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Xenophobic anti-China sentiment has been on the rise since the epidemic hit Italy. Reports of isolated cases of harassment, assaults, and boycotts against the Chinese and other Asians in Italy, and in other European countries, have been making headlines around the world (see, for example, reports from Al Jazeera, Guardian, CNA, and SCMP).

Disclaimer: Although JMSC faculty members have done everything possible to verify the story’s accuracy, we cannot guarantee there are no mistakes. If you notice an error or have any questions, please email us at

Chen Li

Written by

Chen Li

annie lab

annie lab

Fact-checking project @ Journalism & Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong, in collaboration with Asian Network of News & Information Educators (ANNIE).

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade