Did four ROCAF F-16 fighter jets from Taiwan just defect to China?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Four F-16 Fighter Jets From Taiwan Just Defected To China!
Many people are sharing a post on WhatsApp and social media, which claims that four F-16 fighter jets from Taiwan just defected to China.
It’s really long, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…
Truth : No F-16 Fighter Jets From Taiwan Ever Defected To China!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and shared by pro-CCP netizens, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : This Fake Story First Circulated In 2003
This fake story isn’t new. It first went viral in June 2003, when a mainland Chinese military publication called The Extensive Military Report, published a report claiming that four Taiwanese F-16 fighter jets defected to China.
The article said that four Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) F-16 Block 20 fighter jets from the 401st Fighter Wing based at the Taoyuan Air Base defected to an airbase in the Fujian province, under a heavy escort of eight Chinese Su-27 fighter jets.
Allegedly, the four F-16 fighter jets “escaped” during a routine exercise flight at 4 PM on May 27, 2003. Two “loyal” F-16 fighter jets gave chase, and one was shot down by the defecting planes while the second managed to return to base.
Fact #2 : Both Taiwan + China Labelled The Story As False
When the story broke in June 2003, both the Taiwanese and Chinese governments labelled the story as false.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) called the article “a ridiculous rumour”, while the China’s foreign ministry denied the rumour at a press conference.
Taiwanese spokesperson Huang Suey-sheng pointed out that even the Chinese authorities rebutted the claims.
Fact #3 : ROCAF F-16 Tail Numbers Do Not Exist
The original fake story specifically mentioned that one of the defecting F-16 fighter jets had a tail number of 160531.
The modified fake story that is currently circulating on WhatsApp and social media in 2022 said that the aircraft had a tail number of TY160531.
They are both false. No ROCAF aircraft has either tail number.
ROCAF F-16 fighter jets have a four-digit tail number, without any TY prefix.
Fact #4 : ROCAF F-16 Fighters Are Not Based In Taoyuan
Both the original and the updated fake stories falsely claim that the defecting F-16 fighter jets were stationed at the Taoyuan Air Base.
Taiwan’s F-16 fighter jets are based at the Chiayi Air Base in Chiayi, and the Chiashan Air Force Base in Hualien.
Fact #5 : Taoyuan Air Base No Longer Exists!
Taoyuan Air Base no longer exists! In 2007, it was turned over to the Republic of China Navy, and renamed to Taoyuan Naval Base.
Fact #6 : Taiwan Only Has Five Fighter Wings
The original fake story claimed that the defecting F-16 fighters came from the 401st Fighter Wing, while the updated fake story claimed they came from the 16th Air Wing.
Neither the 401st Fighter Wing nor the 16th Air Wing exist in the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF).
There was a 401st Tactical Combined Wing operating out of Taoyuan Air Base, and it had a 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron. But it only operated F-104 fighter jets from the 1960s until the early 1990s.
Currently, Taiwan has five fighter wings, of which only the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing and the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing are equipped with F-16 fighter jets.
Fact #7 : This Is Just Chinese Propaganda
This is just another example of Chinese propaganda created by the infamous Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
All of the wumao articles and videos that I looked at so far have proven to be false… at every instance. So please watch out for such false claims.
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