World War Three fears have grown as videos emerged allegedly showing the Chinese army deploying weapons in order to prepare for a potential attack against Taiwan.

According to Eileen Chang, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, these videos were widely shared in China on Weibo, a state-controlled app that is used as an alternative to Twitter in China.

The video shows the Chinese army transporting tanks through a city using large trucks. Videos of armoured vehicles moving through city streets led to hundreds of millions of social media posts speculating that a war with Taiwan was imminent, according to

China has been open in its desire to bring Taiwan under Chinese rule to mark the 100th anniversary of the country's Communist party this year.

Further adding to the rumours, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce gave out instructions stating: “Families are to store a certain amount of daily necessities as needed to meet daily life and emergencies.”

The announcement was vague and spoke of “disruptions” over winter. Meanwhile, local authorities were also instructed to prepare to release fruit and vegetable reserves “at an appropriate time”.

While these fears may be based on some speculation, the threat of conflict is very real. The increase in Chinese military activity in Taiwan over the last few months has caused global concern.

The history of the region is complicated. The Chinese government considered Taiwan as a breakaway province that will, eventually, be part of the country again, by any means necessary.

Taiwan was once a part of China, during the Qing dynasty from 1683 to 1895, after which it was ceded to Japan after the First Sino-Japanese War, only to be returned after World War Two.

However, a few years after a civil war broke out in China, which led to the then-leader Chiang Kai-shek's troops fleeing to Taiwan after they were beaten by Mao Zedong's Communist armies in 1949.

For the next 50 years, Taiwan was effectively a dictatorship, but a growing pro-democracy movement eventually led to it becoming a democratic state.

Despite not having any official ties, the US has pledged to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons and has emphasised that any attack by China on the island would cause "grave concern".

Last week, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen publicly announced for the first time that the US had been sending US special forces troops to train Taiwanese troops.

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While this has been happening for a while, the president's statement was seen as a move that was bound to anger Beijing.

Following this statement, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, attempted to de-escalate tensions.

“Based on my analysis of China, I don’t think that it is likely in the near future — being defined as, you know, six, 12, maybe 24 months, that kind of window,” he said.

“Having said that, the Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building the capability to provide those options to the national leadership if they choose at some point in the near future.”

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