Shanghai’s amazing drone show didn’t actually happen

In yesterday’s newsletter, I linked to a video from state broadcaster CGTN of a spectacular New Year’s Eve drone display in Shanghai. This is CGTN’s caption for the video:  

Nearly 2,000 drones took to the night sky and illuminated the Huangpu River in Shanghai to welcome in the new year… At around midnight, the drones gathered to form a running man. It moved forward, showing the changes and achievements Shanghai has made in the past 40 years.

It turns out that this is literally fake news! Promoted shamelessly by state TV! The drone show did not happen, at least not on New Year’s Eve. Shanghaiist reports:

However, there’s just one problem. People who were on the Bund on the night of New Year’s Eve say they didn’t see anything in the night sky. No drones. No nothing…

However, a video posted onto Weibo does show the drone show over the Huangpu with the running man and 2020 spelled out. The video is dated December 29.

Our best, most charitable, explanation for this whole head-scratcher is that this was a practice run for a planned New Year’s Eve show that didn’t end up happening for some reason.