‘Mass desertion’ of cars in Germany actually traffic jam in China

A viral message with a picture purportedly showing a mass abandonment of cars in Germany in protest of a fuel price hike is in fact a huge traffic jam in China which happened in 2012 due to a long weekend.

The message which has been circulating on social media spins a story of angry German citizens abandoning their cars in protest after their government supposedly raised fuel prices.

“In just one hour of time people abandoned their cars on the streets and avenues and walked home.

“Over a million abandoned cars. They had to lower the price,” read the message.

However, the image accompanying the message was not shot anywhere near Germany but in fact was taken in China.

According to the online portal of British newspaper The Telegraph, the bumper-to-bumper gridlock captured in the picture took place on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway during the week-long National Day holiday in 2012. Telegraph posted this image on 1st Oct 2012, which reads:

When 1.3 billion people all go on holiday at the same time, a little chaos is perhaps to be expected.

But it was a generous decision by Chinese politicians to grant free road travel, by suspending motorway tolls, that saw hundreds of thousands of drivers spend the first day of the Mid-Autumn Festival on Sunday in gridlock.

Long tailbacks were reported across the country, with 24 major motorways in 16 provinces effectively transformed into enormous parking lots as 86 million people took to the roads, a 13 per cent increase on last year.

It was the first time in a decade that China’s motorways had been toll-free and many families were keen to take advantage of the largesse to get away during the eight-day national holiday.

Frustrated drivers were spotted walking their dogs along the hard shoulder, playing tennis, dropping to the tarmac to do press-ups, or simply snoozing in their cars. Thousands of mobile phone pictures were quickly posted by drivers onto the internet, and the jams were a trending topic on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

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