The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A photo was shared Dec. 2, 2021, on Twitter, along with a claim that a China-made Karl Marx statue is wearing a coronavirus-shaped crown.
- The photo presented in the claim was altered. The original photo, which was taken by Michael Probst, was first published May 5, 2018, on AP Images. The caption of the AP photo shows that it was taken at the unveiling ceremony of a bronze statue celebrating Marx’s 200th birthday. It was taken before COVID-19 was first identified, so it was not associated with the novel coronavirus.
- Keyword searches in Chinese, English, and German produced no results showing Marx’s statue wearing a coronavirus-shaped crown. Similar claims have been circulating online since at least April 2020.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
A photo was shared Dec. 2, 2021, on Twitter, along with a claim that a China-made Karl Marx statue was wearing a coronavirus-shaped crown. The caption translates as, “China donated a bronze statue of Marx on his 200th birthday. The people of Trier, Germany, put a crown of coronavirus and a red flag with patterns of the virus on the China-made bronze statue of Marx, indicating that the Communist Party is the originator of the coronavirus!” The photo appears to show a statue of Marx in a coronavirus-shaped crown and a red flag decorated with many coronavirus-shaped yellow patterns.
Karl Heinrich Marx was born in May 1818 in Trier, Germany. He was a German philosopher, critic of political economy, and socialist.
As of the issuance of this report, the tweet had been retweeted 67 times, nine times with comments, and had received 206 likes.
A reverse image search found a similar photo published May 5, 2018, by the New York Daily News and the U.K.’s Daily Mail. Both of the photos show the statue with no “crown” and no coronavirus-shaped patterns on the red cover. According to the news articles published by New York Daily News and the Daily Mail, the bronze statue of Marx was a present from China to his hometown—Trier in Germany—to celebrate Marx’s 200th birthday. The photo was taken at the unveiling ceremony of the statue. Another similar photo was published May 5, 2018, on AP Images, a website offering a collection of historical and contemporary photographs. The AP photo was taken by Michael Probst. A screenshot comparison shows that the photo presented in the claim has been altered.
The caption of the AP photo reads, “A bronze statue showing German philosopher Karl Marx is unveiled on occasion of the 200th birthday of Marx in Trier, Germany, Saturday, May 5, 2018. The statue was created by Chinese artist Wu Weishan and is a present of China.” COVID-19 was first identified Dec. 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China. The AP photo was taken May 5, 2018, prior to the discovery of COVID-19.
Keyword searches in Chinese, English, and German produced no results showing Marx’s statue wearing a coronavirus-shaped crown. Similar claims have been circulating online since at least April 2020.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Twitter, tweet, Dec. 2, 2021.
- New York Daily News, “Karl Marx hometown unveils huge statue on the Communist Manifesto author’s 200th birth anniversary,” May 5, 2018.
- Daily Mail, “Marx’s birth town celebrates anniversary with new statue,” May 5, 2018.
- AP Images, “GERMANY MARX CELEBRATIONS,” May 5, 2018.
- WHO, “Listings of WHO’s response to COVID-19,” June 29, 2020.
- Minghui website, “Marx crowned in Germany: ancestor of novel coronavirus appeared,” May 1, 2021.