‘They must be held accountable for their actions’: Missouri sues Chinese government over coronavirus handling
On Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party and other Chinese officials for their “deception and deceit” about the novel coronavirus.
“COVID-19 has done irreparable damage to countries across the globe, causing sickness, death, economic disruption, and human suffering,” said Schmitt in a statement. “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.
“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,” Schmitt continued. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”
In an interview on Fox & Friends, Schmitt said, “what we’ve come to know here is that the Chinese government engaged a campaign of deception and deceit of misrepresentations about the origin of this deadly virus and unleashed a worldwide pandemic … and no part of the globe has been spared.”
The key factual allegations of the lawsuit are: denying the risk of human-to-human transmission; silencing of whistleblowers; failing to contain the outbreak; and hoarding personal protective equipment.
However, China’s foreign ministry called the lawsuit “very absurd” and claims it has “no factual or legal basis.”
Schmitt’s response was simple: “I guess we’ll see in court.”
Many legal experts claim that, because U.S. law prohibits nations from suing other nations, the lawsuit is more of a performative act; however, Asia Analyst Gordon Chang told Fox News, “Missouri sued the communist party, which technically does not have sovereign immunity, but does have a lot of assets around the world … so I think something will happen.”
“We’ve done extensive research and as the first state to move forward, we wanted to make sure we were very buttoned up on this lawsuit,” said Schmitt on Fox & Friends. “There are exceptions to the [Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act], and the principal exception that we cite in our lawsuit is the ‘commercial activities’ exception.
“When the Chinese government’s operating a virology lab, when the Chinese government is operating a hospital system, when the Chinese government is hoarding PPE … those are commercial activities,” Schmitt continued. “We’ve also sued the Chinese Communist Party and other non-state actors.”
“They [China] are responsible for this and the responsibility lies directly at their feet,” Schmitt explained to Tucker Carlson on Tuesday. “I felt it’s incumbent upon me as the state’s chief legal officer to prosecute that case to the Chinese government.”