Watch CBSN Live

Shanghai's stunning New Year's Eve drone show was actually pre-recorded

What appeared to be a spectacular New Year's Eve drone display put on in Shanghai didn't actually happen as the city was ringing in 2020, according to CBS News partner BBC News. The entire show, which received praise for being a low-pollution and modern alternative to fireworks, was pre-recorded days earlier, a media manager told BBC News. 

The stunning show was filled with nearly 2,000 drones –– all of them forming to make firework designs, a running man and planet figures, 2020, a countdown clock and Chinese characters. Central China Television, the country's public television channel, released a video touting the spectacle -- and claimed the multi-colored drones flew over the Huangpu River on Tuesday night. 

According to the BBC, a media manager for the company behind the display, Yihang Bailu, admitted that it was filmed on Saturday, December 28. The official also said it was arranged by local TV station Shanghai Dragon Television "to ensure the global live broadcasting effect."  

2,000 Drones Light up Night Sky in Shanghai to Welcome New Year by CCTV Video News Agency on YouTube

While the show was originally hailed for shunning fireworks, some revelers who were on Shanghai's famous waterfront, the Bund, didn't see any sort of display.

"This blows my mind because it's 100% Chinese fake news," one Twitter user said. "We stood outside last night for a show that never happened lol."

"I was in the Bund on New Years Eve right in that time and nothing happened," Twitter user Abraham Perez wrote. "All the drones display is fake."

Perez also tweeted a video as the city was welcoming in the new decade. Revelers could be heard counting down with their phones pointed to the sky, but no such drone display ever appeared. 

The BBC reported that celebrations have been subdued since the deadly New Year's stampede in the city in 2015. Thirty-six people were killed on the Bund, an avenue lined with art deco buildings that date back to the 1920s and 1930s, when Shanghai was home to international banks and trading houses. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.