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David Wertime

Today's Viral Image: School Is Out–Forever?

The graduation picture to end all graduation pictures

An image of college graduates exulting in their newfound freedom while their alma mater apparently burns has recently been making the rounds on Chinese social media. 

As the Dalian evening news has tweeted from its official account (@大连晚报) on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, a warehouse just behind the Dalian University of Science and Engineering caught fire at about 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Netizens sharing this image maintain the fire burst out just before this photograph was taken.  

Many netizens are incredulous, claiming to be students at the university who did not see the fire, or do not recognize the building in the picture. Some have countered that this was a satellite campus of the school, hence the confusion.

While the image may appear too incredible to be true, a local paper’s account of fire by the school makes it more likely than not to be real. Which leaves this author with a question: Was the timing of this photograph coincidental, as some have written, or did the students seize the opportunity to create an unforgettable memento?

These images show a real fire, now under control. From Dalian Evening News

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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.
  • Silcharles

    That is so photoshopped…  It’s not that I believe it’s too incredible to be true. It just looks like crap.

  • Silcharles

    That is so photoshopped…  It’s not that I believe it’s too incredible to be true. It just looks like crap.

  • Robert Fong

    Elements of this photo do arouse suspicion to begin with but I’ve also checked this photo at online site http://www.fotoforensics.com (and would encourage others to as well before passing these photos onward). From the ELA (error level analysis) available at the site, one can see clearly that the picture is doctored.

    For ones personal edification, if you want a quick lesson on how to tell if a photo is doctored, you can check out this video from Gigafide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlEMcMdjJU8&feature=colike

  • Robert Fong

    Elements of this photo do arouse suspicion to begin with but I’ve also checked this photo at online site http://www.fotoforensics.com (and would encourage others to as well before passing these photos onward). From the ELA (error level analysis) available at the site, one can see clearly that the picture is doctored.

    For ones personal edification, if you want a quick lesson on how to tell if a photo is doctored, you can check out this video from Gigafide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlEMcMdjJU8&feature=colike