China: Europe’s Most Read Newspaper ‘Sold Its Soul’ with $160 Billion Coronavirus Reparations Demand

Chinas President Xi Jinping speaks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin via a video link, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 2, 2019. (Photo by Noel CELIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
NOEL CELIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese officials and state media responded with fury after Germany’s Bild, the most widely read newspaper in Europe, called on Beijing to pay over $160 billion in reparations to Germany for its losses due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Bild published an article last week called “What China Owes Us,” which made a case for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to pay about $26 billion to Germany for lost revenue from tourism, $54 billion for lost profits from small businesses, and a million dollars per hour for losses to flagship air carrier Lufthansa.

Bild estimated the Chinese coronavirus caused a loss of at least 4.2 percent of Germany’s Gross Domestic Product. Approvingly quoting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that “there will be a time when those responsible will be held accountable,” Europe’s biggest paper argued the secrecy and mendacity of the Chinese government made it responsible for the financial damage to Germany, and by extension the other nations of the world.

The CCP and its carefully controlled media went wild after the editorial dropped. Bild Editor-in-Chief Julian Reichelt received a fiery letter of criticism from the Chinese embassy accusing his paper of “fueling nationalism” by blaming China.

Reichelt answered with a defiant open letter condemning Chinese dictator Xi Jinping and his totalitarian government as a menace to humanity.

“You rule by surveillance,” Reichelt told Xi. “You would not be president without surveillance. You can monitor everything, every one of your citizens, but you refuse to monitor the high-risk animal markets in your country. You will shut down any critical newspaper or website, but not the stalls selling bat soup. You not only monitor your people, you also endanger them – and with them the entire world.”

Reichelt blasted the CCP for stealing intellectual property from other nations and giving them the coronavirus in return. 

“You were too proud a nationalist to tell the truth that you felt was a national disgrace,” he told Xi, flipping China’s allegations of nationalism around.

In a crucial passage of his letter, Reichelt said China’s effort to send its medical products around the world in the wake of its coronavirus horror was not a gesture of “friendship” but an act of “smiling imperialism.”

“You want to strengthen China through an epidemic that came from China,” the Bild editor accused Xi. “I don’t think you can save your personal power. I believe that sooner or later, the coronavirus will mean your political end.”

Chinese embassy spokeswoman Tao Lil fired back at Reichelt with an open letter of her own.

“I followed your reporting on the corona pandemic in general and China’s alleged guilt in particular today. Apart from the fact that we consider it a pretty bad style to blame a country for a pandemic that is affecting the whole world and then to present an explicit account of alleged Chinese debts to Germany, the article ignores some essential facts,” she wrote.

Tao went on to claim that China gave the rest of the world plenty of warning to prepare its coronavirus response, a claim few other nations in the world would endorse.

China previously fought with Bild in September after the newspaper invited Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong to visit Germany, a trip that also included a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The CCP railed that Bild helped Wong use Germany for “anti-Chinese separatist activities” and froze a Bild reporter out of a press conference in retaliation.

On Monday, China’s Global Times accused Reichelt of “selling his soul” to attack the CCP’s glorious coronavirus record and dismissed every critic of how Beijing handled the pandemic as merely playing politics.

The Global Times moved the ever-shifting political narrative of the coronavirus back to “local idiots in Wuhan government made a few mistakes,” played every victim card in the deck by accusing the CCP’s critics of callous indifference to China’s casualties from the virus, and actually blamed the rest of the world for not moving fast enough to pick up the pieces after the CCP concealed the pandemic for as long as it could:

On January 20, China confirmed human-to-human transmissions of the coronavirus and made it public. Although completing the process was a bit slow, at the global level, the time lost could have been compensated by taking resolute measures. This was especially true for those countries far from China.

Wuhan issued a notice locking down the city in the early hours of January 23, a message so shocking it was like banging the drum in front of all countries, including the US and Germany.

From that day on, China rapidly mobilized. Several big cities one or two thousand kilometers away from Wuhan promptly brought the situation under control. And in only about one virus incubation period, regions outside Wuhan in China had seen a gradual decrease in confirmed cases by February 4.

No case had been reported in Germany by the time Wuhan was locked down, nor had the UK or Italy. France reported its first case on January 25, the first in Europe.

Incredibly, the Global Times went on to blame Bild and other European media for not doing enough to discover the truth of the coronavirus and inform their citizens about the danger the CCP was concealing:

China was the only main battlefield at that time, while the global situation went well. If all countries began to attach importance to the epidemic from January 23, track every confirmed case and close contact and adopt timely quarantine measures, European countries would not be hit by the virus one after another, nor would the US witness thousands of deaths every day.

What was the Bild doing then? What were other European media outlets doing? Why didn’t they interview European epidemic prevention experts? Why didn’t they sound the alarm to Europeans about the possible outbreak in the continent? Unfortunately, many Western media were criticizing and mocking Wuhan’s lockdown and accusing China of violating human rights. To this day, some Western reporters are still expressing negative attitudes toward the lockdown.

The editorial concluded by dismissing Bild and all of the CCP’s other critics as puppets of Washington, denouncing Reichelt as a “typical rogue figure in the global intellectual community” and the “shame of German media.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry played the victim card again on Monday as it sought to discredit the growing global movement to hold China accountable for the pandemic with lawsuits, insisting that everyone should stop quibbling about who unleashed it and come together in unity against mankind’s common microscopic enemy.

“The international community can overcome the virus only if it can stay united and cooperate to make concerted efforts. Attacking and discrediting other countries simply wastes time and cannot save lost lives,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“China has been attacked by the virus and is also a victim of the virus. We are not the culprit, not the accomplice of the virus,” he insisted.

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