Two Republican legislators are supporting legislation that would allow Americans to fight back against China as the coronavirus causes death and disruption across the U.S.
The ‘‘Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act of 2020’’ was introduced Thursday by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas.
The bill comes against a backdrop of allegations, including from Taiwan, that the Chinese government covered up facts in December, as well as a sudden spike in the number of deaths reported in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, after China insisted for weeks its statistics were perfect.
The bill’s goal is to allow Americans to sue China for the economic and personal damage cased by the coronavirus, which Cotton’s office termed the “Wuhan Virus” in the news release announcing the legislation.
It does so by amending the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to allow suits against China in this particular instance.
The release said the bill “gives the United States a powerful tool to get China to pay for the damage it has caused: If the United States and China come to an agreement to settle the claims, then the private suits could be dismissed.
“In other words, China can take responsibility and agree to pay for the damage it has caused, or it can face potentially millions of claims in federal court.”
The legislation reads like an indictment of China.
“The Communist Party of China covered up the existence and downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), at least as early as December 2019,” it begins. “Chinese Government officials engaged in a campaign to silence and delegitimize doctors, including Dr. Li Wenliang, who were warning their colleagues and others about COVID-19.
“Chinese Government officials ordered the destruction of laboratory samples and research regarding COVID-19 in January 2020. Chinese Government officials have detained or otherwise silenced researchers, journalists, and citizens who attempted to share information that could have proven unflattering to the response of the Chinese Government to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The legislation said that the bill is not about secrecy; it is about the consequences of that secrecy.
“Academic studies have shown that, had appropriate interventions occurred to stop the spread of COVID-19 even just weeks earlier, the spread of COVID-19 would have been severely curtailed,” it said.
“The cover-up of COVID-19 by the Chinese Government (A) has caused significant death, injury, and economic harm in the United States and around the world; and (B) is, at minimum, grossly negligent behavior causing significant injury.”
The legislators said China has to be held accountable for its actions:
This is spot on from Dr. Gottlieb & outlines facts much of the media seems to forget:
– China lied & tried to coverup their failure to contain coronavirus
– WHO was validating the communist regime’s false claims
– All of this made the global spread of this pandemic much worse https://t.co/jVNCmT7EgC
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) April 13, 2020
When your hatred for Trump makes you defend a communist government that deliberately hid a virus they knew was spreading around the world.
This is a Senator. From the United States. It’s unbelievable. https://t.co/Byr5dL1M42
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 15, 2020
“We need to hold the Chinese government accountable for their malicious lies and coverup that allowed the coronavirus to spread across the world,” Crenshaw said in a statement.
“The communist regime expelled journalists, silenced whistleblowers, and withheld vital information that delayed the global response to the pandemic. Simply put: their actions cost American lives and livelihoods. This bill will help ensure China’s actions are not without consequences.”
China is a pariah state. https://t.co/cJSK24eCex
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 15, 2020
“By silencing doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus to spread quickly around the globe. Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm. It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused,” Cotton added.
China is also facing the wrath of political leaders after a new report suggested that the virus did not emerge from a wet market in Wuhan, as the Chinese government has claimed, but from a lab located in that city.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.