FACT CHECK: Did Germany Send China A Bill For ‘Coronavirus Damages’?

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the German government billed China for 130 billion pounds in “coronavirus damages.”

Verdict: False

The pictured headline is misleading. The German newspaper Bild actually created the mock invoice.

Fact Check:

The viral image shows side-by-side photos of Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with a headline saying, “Germany sends China £130billion bill for ‘coronavirus damages’ – sparks fury in Beijing.”

However, the pictured headline is misleading. The German newspaper Bild actually created an itemized invoice based on its calculations of economic losses incurred by Germany during the coronavirus pandemic. In total, the mock bill amounted to 149 billion euros, or roughly 130 billion pounds, according to Germany-based DW News.

The headline came from a Daily Express article published on April 21, though it has since been changed. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims Beijing And Shanghai Haven’t Had Any Coronavirus Cases)

“This article was originally headlined ‘Germany sends China £130billion bill for ‘coronavirus damages’ – sparks fury in Beijing,'” reads the Daily Express’s clarification. “In fact it was not the German Government that estimated the bill for the Coronavirus (that should be paid by China) but rather the leading German news publication Bild.”

The Chinese Embassy in Berlin refuted the claims in the mock invoice in a statement addressed to Bild’s editor-in-chief, saying it fuels “nationalism, prejudice and xenophobia,” according to a translation.

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Mass has also said the idea of billing China for damages is “illusory,” according to Full Fact.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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