Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is introducing a bill which would "hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responsible for causing the COVID-19 global pandemic," Hawley announced on Tuesday.
The Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act would strip China of its immunity in US courts, allowing private parties to sue the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over its handling of the disease, which originated in Wuhan, China. The legislation would also create a Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Task Force within the US State Department which would investigate Beijing's handling of the outbreak, as well as secure compensation from the CCP.
Today I’m announcing legislation to hold #China accountable. My bill would strip China of its immunity in US courts and create a private right of action against the Chinese Communist Party for silencing whistleblowers & withholding critical information about #COVID19— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 14, 2020
"There is overwhelming evidence that the Chinese Communist Party’s lies, deceit, and incompetence caused COVID-19 to transform from a local disease outbreak into a global pandemic," said Hawley in a statement, adding: "We need an international investigation to learn the full extent of the damage the CCP has inflicted on the world and then we need to empower Americans and other victims around the world to recover damages. The CCP unleashed this pandemic. They must be held accountable to their victims."
According to Hawley's press release:
The Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act will:
- Make the Chinese government liable for civil claims in U.S. courts by:
- Creating a private right of action against the Chinese government for any reckless action it took that caused the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, such as its decisions to withhold information and to gag doctors;
- Stripping the Chinese government of sovereign immunity for these actions so that plaintiffs can sue; and
- Allowing courts to freeze Chinese government assets so victims can enforce their claims;
- Establish the Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Task Force at the State Department to:
- Lead an international investigation to determine how Beijing’s decisions to distort and conceal information about the COVID-19 outbreak—including by using the World Health Organization to parrot its lies—caused this global pandemic; and
- Lead an international effort to secure compensation from the Chinese government, including by preparing options to compel Beijing to provide restitution, if at first it resists international demands for the same.
In a March Op-Ed at Fox News, Hawley called for an investigation into "Beijing's disastrous handling of the coronavirus," writing: "The Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic – and it knows it. That’s why Beijing has gone on a propaganda offensive to try to deflect blame anywhere it can, including right here at the United States."
The Chinese Communist Party has done everything it can to hide the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Party officials interrogated and punished Chinese doctors who tried to warn others as the virus began to spread. They ordered laboratories to stop testing for the virus and destroy their samples when it became clear that an outbreak was underway. They even sat on evidence showing the virus could be transmitted between humans. By the time they shared that information, the virus had already spread to other nations. -Sen. Hawley (3.30.2020)
In response to Hawley's announcement, CCP media mouthpiece - China Daily's EU Bureau Chief Chen Weihua - retweeted a video montage refuting anti-China claims by Hawley and others.
US Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proved major source of disinformation. Video clip truly revealing. https://t.co/KXM6Da7wqL— Chen Weihua (@chenweihua) April 14, 2020