We Can Make China Pay For The Coronavirus

Everyone with any bit of common sense knows China is responsible for the novel coronavirus outbreak. Chinese officials lied to international bodies about the nature of the virus, tried to cover up its devastation and death toll, and allowed the virus to spread to every part of the world. There is also mounting evidence that the virus leaked from a Wuhan research facility, further reinforcing Chinese responsibility.

Many Americans want to make the Chinese Communists pay for what they did. Here’s a great idea about how to do that: seize China’s assets.

One of the leading champions of this idea is New Mexico U.S. Senate candidate Gavin Clarkson. Clarkson outlined his plan in a Washington Examiner op-ed last month.

“Based on China’s culpability, President Trump and Secretary Steven Mnuchin should immediately extract reimbursement, starting with the $1.1 trillion in U.S. Treasury Department bonds Communist China currently holds,” he wrote.

Here’s how the plan would work, according to Clarkson:

The Department of the Treasury should electronically confiscate all U.S. Treasurys currently held by China and make it illegal for China to buy, hold, or sell U.S. Treasurys going forward. These prohibitions would apply to any subsidiary or agent of China’s Communist Party. Treasury bonds are no longer held in paper form but are recorded electronically at the Depository Trust Corporation, so this can be done with just a few keystrokes.

In a different op-ed, Clarkson suggests another way to put pressure on China: “We should engage our allies to isolate China economically and make them pay for their deadly bad-faith actions in the world arena. This effect would be even more devastating than going it alone.”

He suggests using mechanisms such as NATO’s Article V to get our allies to join in this effort.

“We should also take further steps, individually and in concert with our allies and other nations suffering from the pandemic and its fallout, to divest ourselves of any investment in companies controlled by or closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party, especially those that are essentially espionage arms for intellectual property theft, such as Huawei and ZTE,” he adds.

Clarkson is not alone in proposing this form of punishment. Several experts and lawmakers also want to hurt China in its pocketbook.

Legal scholar John Yoo called for asset seizure to punish Chinese malfeasance. Yoo doubts that international bodies could make the ChiComs pay up, so he believes it’s up to America and its allies to do the job.

“[T]he administration could also seize the assets of Chinese state-owned companies,” Yoo wrote in a National Review essay earlier this month. “Under its Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing reportedly has loaned billions to developing nations in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, and then taken over their strategic ports and facilities once the debts fall due. The U.S. could turn this strategy on its head by supporting the expropriation of these assets by legal process and the cancellation of these debts as compensation for coronavirus losses.”

China expert Gordon Chang also believes that seizing the Communists’ holdings of U.S. Treasurys is the best form of punishment.

“All we have to do is [have] the Treasury Department and the President of the United States say, ‘We’re not paying you back. We’re confiscating your holdings of treasuries,’” he told Breitbart this month.

He believes this action must be done with our allies to ward off likely Chinese complaints.

“We should do this in conjunction with the issuers of the other major occurrences,” Chang added. “If we act alone, China is going to say that we repudiated our debt.”

Many Republican lawmakers are proposing similar ideas. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) believes the United States should force China to waive some of our debts. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wants to empower American citizens to sue the Chinese Communist Party for damages caused by COVID-19.

Punishing China is a popular idea among Americans right now. Seventy-seven percent of Americans blame China for the virus outbreak and 54 percent say China should pay reparations. Americans are suffering right now due to China’s incompetence and lies.

Democrats don’t want to do anything about China; they want to blame President Trump for the whole disaster. They’re even defending the World Health Organization, which parroted Chinese disinformation and did little to curb the virus’s spread. They will even defend the ChiComs just to maintain their unrelenting hostility toward the president.

Republicans have the perfect opportunity to get out in front of this issue and show they care more about punishing our national enemies than petty partisanship.

Chinese misbehavior has gone on for far too long—it’s time to make them pay.

About Paul Bradford

Paul Bradford is a Capitol Hill refugee now earning an honest living.

Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

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