Fact Check: Chinese Grasslands Tourist Slides DON'T Really Look Like The Videos

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Chinese Grasslands Tourist Slides DON'T Really Look Like The Videos Enhanced Scene

Does a video showing a rail sliding attraction in the Hulunbuir grassland region of Inner Mongolia, China, accurately represent the cloudscapes a visitor can expect? No, that's not true: A viral video promoting the Ribbon River Grass Skiing attraction features a digitally edited rolling storm cloud added on the horizon. The exact same cloud photo with different effects applied appears in another video posted on TikTok. Additional promotional videos found on TikTok, Facebook and YouTube feature a mix of recycled foreground and deceptively enhanced cloudscapes.

The video appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram by @khanjipeerwala on May 30, 2024. The post was captioned:

Would You Try this
Hulunbuir Grassland. This is Hulunbuir 186 Ribbon River Grass Skiing, with a total length of 1,000 meters, the longest in Asia.

📍Hulunbuir Grassland, Inner Mongolia


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Jun 05 19:18:54 2024 UTC)

The video shows a group of people traveling on parallel tracks of green rails set directly on the grass. Each person has their own personal coaster car. In the distance a cluster of red buildings is on the right, and on the left is a large building with a black roof resembling a resort lodge. There seems to be an almost apocalyptic event on the horizon. Dark gray and golden sunlit clouds block out the blue sky and seem to be shooting upward out of the ground, like a volcano or a geyser. The dramatic clouds flow continuously upward.

This once-real cloudscape has been enhanced with a low-quality animation technique. Transparent layers of elements in the image are shifted upward to create a flowing illusion. This is not the way that convective clouds such as this would really appear to build. They have also been added to the scene in such a way that the cloud base is below the horizon, giving the illusion that the clouds are much larger than they were in nature.

In the Lead Stories composite image below, screenshots from four different videos are compared left to right.

  • On the far left is a May 7, 2024, video from TikTok, with a woman wearing pink pants. This grassland slide appears to be at a different location in the grasslands as a white fence flanks the tracks.
  • Next is the May 30, 2024, video from Instagram. Note that the cloudscape is the mirror image of the previous example.
  • Next is a June 4, 2024, video from TikTok. The scene of the grasslands is reversed from the Instagram video, and now the red buildings appear to the left of the tracks. The cloudscape is the same picture but it appears much wider. In all probability it is the first two images that are compressed from side to side and the third image is a more true to nature storm cloud proportion, but it too has the low-quality animation effect added.
  • On the far right is a reel posted on Facebook marked China Plus. This features the same video as the previous example, but with a totally different sky.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image with TikTok, Instagram and Facebook screenshots taken on Wed Jun 05 20:11:18 2024 UTC)

These edited landscape scenes have been circulating on social media since at least July 1, 2023. The composite image below features a screenshot from a video on YouTube featuring a cartoonishly puffy gigantic cloud and the same sliding party as the previous two examples, only reversed. This is compared to a July 12, 2023, video posted on TikTok that has such an extreme skyscape added (below right), it isn't clear if the edit is satire. Both videos feature the same music soundtrack.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image with YouTube and TikTok screenshots taken on Wed Jun 05 20:11:18 2024 UTC)

A promotional YouTube short (pictured on the far right of the composite image below) was posted at least seven months ago. The deceptively edited clip features supersaturated colors, large cumulo-form clouds on the horizon and a narrator with this pitch:

Does this look fake to you? Well it's a real place near the border of Mongolia and China. The Hulun Buir Grassland is the definition of heaven. It has vast greenery, beautiful animals and the most insane clouds on Earth. If you visit here make sure to take the 1,200-meter slide to literally feel like you're in a dream.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image with YouTube and TikTok screenshots taken on Wed Jun 05 20:11:18 2024 UTC)

Another video posted on TikTok on April 4, 2024 (pictured above on the left), is a reversed copy of the same footage with a large cloud in the distance with iridescent colors. The black-roofed lodge in the scene appears duplicated as if with a rubber stamp (inset detail with black outline) but seconds later in the video, the buildings seem to merge (inset with orange outline).

Vlogger Matthew Tye, who lived and traveled in China, published the video, "China Makes Fake Tourist Videos - The Reality is too Ugly!" on the YouTube channel China Fact Chasers. Tye was offered payment to post propaganda on his channel. He explains that this type of supersaturated color and blending of reality with digital and AI enhancements is very common in China. At 2:18 minutes into the video, the same scene from the example (above right) is shown on screen to illustrate his point as he says:

It was everything, everything had been altered. Every skyscape, every cityscape, every person in the park, every person's face, so it's not just like, 'Oh it's a pretty girl that's not actually pretty in real life.' The whole scenes are conglomerates and Ai and everything mixed together to literally make artificial everything. I'm talking like the majority of videos I saw were fake.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks assessing claims including digitally manipulated images or videos can be found here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion