‘We’re Going to Hold China Responsible’ for COVID: Republican Lawsuit against CCP Advances
The world is one step closer to holding China accountable for unleashing the COVID-19 virus, which led to draconian church and business closures and substantial loss of life in 2020, thanks to a lawsuit from a Republican attorney general.
In April 2020, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) sued the People’s Republic of China, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and entities including the Wuhan Institute of Virology for damages inflicted on his state by deception, malfeasance, continuing to allow large gatherings in Wuhan, taking legal action against doctors who tried to share information about the virus, and other actions. A lower court had ruled a piece of federal legislation, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, blocks U.S. courts from considering nearly all lawsuits against a sovereign nation. But the majority of a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Wednesday that China must answer one of Bailey’s allegations: Missourians suffered, and died, because the Chinese bought personal protective equipment (PPE) from around the world for their own use.
“We know that they had cornered the market on certain supplies necessary to respond to the pandemic, and then hoarded those supplies and deprived the American public and policymakers at the state level from access to those goods. So it’s like they’ve created a demand and then control the supply,” said Bailey on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” last Thursday. “There was a death toll associated with it. … They hoarded PPE supplies that were absolutely necessary in the government’s response to the pandemic, and American lives were lost in the process.”
At the outset of the U.S. COVID outbreak, the CCP’s United Front Work Department orchestrated a global effort spanning five continents to snatch up PPE and export it to China for its own national aims. “In Nagoya, Japan, volunteers drove to pharmacies and bought 520,000 masks in three days, according to an account carried by Xinhua, China’s official news agency,” reported Bloomberg News. “By Jan. 26, the head of a Chinese chamber of commerce in Toronto, just back from a trip to Beijing, started making calls to members telling them they needed to join the effort, the report said. Almost 100 people drove to Toronto — some overnight, on icy roads — and were dispatched to buy supplies.”
The CCP’s attempt to purchase as much PPE as possible reached from Kenya to Italy. “An overseas Chinese association in Argentina sent some 25,000 masks within a week of receiving the request.” PetroChina Co., a Chinese state-controlled oil company, told its employees in 20 nations to purchase PPE and send them back to China.
While stripping U.S. shelves of PPE, China exported its own defective products to other nations — including the United States — and demanded either a public relations coup or cash. Chinese officials donated PPE products to Italy, Mexico, and Serbia, but reportedly pressured public officials to praise their actions in the media. Officials dutifully responded, and the U.S. media also followed their bidding. NBC News ran a story titled, “As U.S. struggles to stem coronavirus, China asserts itself as global leader.”
Foreign leaders would soon learn China sent them defective products. The Netherlands recalled 600,000 of the 1.3 million masks the Chinese Communist Party had donated. The Czech Republic and Spain noted up to 80% of the tests the CCP had donated did not work.
Chinese companies also sold fraudulent and defective KN95 respirators to the U.S. In May 2020, Crawford Technology Group (HK) Co. LTD., “a digital electronics company based in Shenzhen, China, manufactured and sold 140,400 adulterated and misbranded KN95 filtering face piece respirators … for import into the United States,” charged the Trump Justice Department in June 2020.
President Donald Trump had vowed to make China pay for the spread of the coronavirus if he served a second term. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases (COVID) Act, which would allow individuals affected by COVID-19 to sue the Chinese government by eliminating the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s protection for nations that spread biological diseases.
Now, one prong of Bailey’s lawsuit may prevail. Politico claimed, “Legal experts have mostly panned it as a stunt aimed at shifting blame to China for the Covid-19 pandemic.” No one doubts COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China — possibly in a lab inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology — nor that Chinese officials allowed Chinese citizens from Wuhan to travel abroad while blocking them from traveling inside China. Most global health authorities have slammed Chinese officials for refusing to tell the outside world about the virus’ effects, spread, or origin.
One judge in the panel ruled that the lawsuit should not move forward: Sino-American disputes are too “well populated with substantial political and diplomatic concerns,” according to Chief Judge Lavenski R. Smith, a George W. Bush appointee. But Bailey aims to press his case to its legal limit.
“We’re going to fight to hold the Chinese Communist Party responsible,” Bailey told Perkins. “I think the way we do that is by identifying assets that the Chinese Communist Party possesses here in the United States and specifically in Missouri, and those can be targets for asset forfeiture.”
That should not be hard to find: Chinese companies owned 42,596 acres of Missouri farmland in 2021, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture — about half of all foreign-owned land in the state. On January 2, Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) issued an executive order (24-01) barring nations designated as foreign adversaries from owning property within 10 miles of critical military facilities.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.