No, Germany Hasn’t Sent a £130 Bn Bill to China for COVID Damages

While it’s true that a bill was drawn up, it was put together by German newspaper Bild and not the government.

Updated22 Apr 2020, 08:52 AM IST
WebQoof
3 min read

CLAIM

An article published in Express UK claims that Germany has sent a bill of £130 billion to China to pay for the damages caused by COVID-19. The article titled ‘Germany sends China £130 billion bill for ‘coronavirus damages’ – sparks fury in Beijing’ has been picked up by several media organisations including news agency IANS.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/B71u2">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Website/Screenshot)

The Economic Times, along with Outlook published a syndicated article from IANS with a similar headline: “China gets 130-billion-pound bill from Germany for corona damages.”

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/tuuz6">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Website/Screenshot)

Amar Ujala, too, published an article on Monday, 20 April, making the same claim.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/5Wub8">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Website/Screenshot)

Social media users also shared the Express UK’s article on Twitter and Facebook.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/mVNrA">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/7RyWN">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

The Quint received a query on the claims being made in the article on its WhatsApp helpline.

No, Germany Hasn’t Sent a £130 Bn Bill to China for COVID Damages
(Source: WhatsApp/The Quint)

(Click here for live updates on COVID-19. Also visit Quint Fit for comprehensive coverage on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.)

WHAT’S THE TRUTH?

A German newspaper ‘Bild’ mocked up a bill and assessed the damage which the coronavirus pandemic has caused to the economy. However, the headline of Express UK is misleading to the effect that it insinuates that the German government has made the move.

Even the URL mentions ‘Angela Merkel’, giving an impression that the government is involved in this move.

However, if you read carefully, the first line of the Express article mentions that it is the German newspaper that has put together an invoice on coronavirus damages incurred by the country and not the government.

“Germany has sparked outrage in China after a major newspaper put together a £130bn invoice that Beijing “owes” Berlin following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” the first line reads.

Further, Germany-based media outlet DW News aired a bulletin on 18 April with the title: “German tabloid 'Bild' demands China pay coronavirus damages.” The bulletin showed images of the bill presented by the tabloid and mentioned that the invoice amounts to €149 billion. (£130 Bn)

Further, in a letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Editor-in-Chief of Bild wrote, “Your embassy in Berlin has addressed me in an open letter because we asked in our newspaper BILD whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the corona virus is inflicting worldwide.”

Though the content of the Express UK article does mention that it’s actually a Germany-based newspaper that had put together a bill, at first glance the headline is misleading and gives a wrong impression.

You can read all our fact-checked stories here.

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Published: 21 Apr 2020, 06:52 AM IST
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