The attorneys general of Missouri and Mississippi announced this week that they are filing lawsuits against the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus, which first appeared in Wuhan late last year and was allowed to spread to the rest of the world.
Missouri AG Eric Schmitt says that China’s “campaign of deceit” has led to great human suffering across the globe.
Schmidt, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, said he hopes the suit acts as a template for other states who want to hold the Chinese government accountable for their malfeasance. In addition to the Chinese government, the complaint also names the Chinese Communist party and “other various non-state actors,” according to Schmitt.
“During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment (“PPE”)—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable,” the complaint says.
Schmitt points out in the lawsuit that by late December, Chinese health officials had serious evidence of human-to-human transmission, but denied that fact when it reported the outbreak to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31. The World Health Organization went on to uncritically repeat China’s disinformation as fact. Earlier this month, President Trump announced that the United States would halt funding to WHO for severely mismanaging its response to the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 has done irreparable damage to countries across the globe, causing sickness, death, economic disruption, and human suffering. In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real – thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table,” Schmitt said in a statement. “The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease. They must be held accountable for their actions.”
The AG told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo Thursday that China was aware that “this vicious virus” could spread person to person during the very critical weeks of January of February, and because they concealed this information “valuable time was lost.”
“All the while, they’re hoarding PPE. China went from being a net exporter of PPE to being a net importer of PPE during this time,” he added.
“It was really avoidable. This really could have been prevented,” Schmitt lamented. “A worldwide pandemic like we’ve never seen has been unleashed and no corner of the globe has been spared.”
The attorney general of Mississippi also announced plans this week to file a lawsuit against China.
In a statement on Wednesday, AG Lynn Fitch (R) said that “too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up.”
“They must not be allowed to act with impunity,” she continued. “Mississippians deserve justice and I will seek that in court.”
The lawsuit is seeking damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, according to a release.
Fitch is also calling on the Mississippi congressional delegation to back legislation recently introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) that would allow Americans to sue Beijing in an effort to recover damages for losses caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Specifically, the bill would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to create a narrow exception for damages caused by China’s dangerous handling of the Wuhan Virus outbreak,” a release detailing the measure states.
A national security expert with the Center for Security Policy, meanwhile, is calling for reparations against China.
“We have to get reparations from the Chinese government,” said CSP senior analyst for strategy Michael Waller on OANN Thursday. “This is what happens when any hostile power unleashes damage against everyone else. There has to be reparations for it.”
Waller said that because it was unlikely that the Chinese Communist party would be willing to pay those reparations, the United States needs to just take them.
“For example, the United States just defaults on its debts to China,” Waller explained, adding that if all the other countries with debts to China do the same, together, they could collapse the regime.