Leading Republicans Want to Send China the Bill for Coronavirus Pandemic’s Costs
By David Lynch
The Washington Post
Apr. 24, 2020
Leading Republicans are demanding that China be made to pay financially for what they allege was a coverup of the lethal coronavirus outbreak that ultimately brought the U.S. economy to a near halt, erasing more than 26 million American jobs and costing the federal government trillions of dollars in emergency spending.
Key lawmakers want President Trump to cancel the $1 trillion-plus U.S. debt to China and to push companies to relocate their medical product supply chains to the United States.
Several of the proposed punitive measures face significant hurdles and, if enacted, would be likely to involve steep costs for the United States, apart from whatever benefits might be gained. But the Republican campaign aims to capitalize on growing public distrust of China and to draw voters’ attention to Beijing’s alleged responsibility for the deepening recession, rather than criticism of the president’s pandemic response.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) isn’t waiting for congressional action. Earlier this week, he sued the Chinese government in U.S. District Court in Missouri, seeking “billions of dollars” in damages for the medical and economic toll of the coronavirus.
“An appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction by Chinese authorities unleashed this pandemic,” the state alleged in court filings.
Schmitt also named the Chinese Communist Party as a defendant, in a bid to circumvent the prohibition against suing a foreign government. Julian Ku, constitutional-law professor at Hofstra Law School, said U.S. courts have never ruled on the question of the all-powerful CCP’s responsibility for Chinese government actions.
But he said that while the case may “embarrass” Chinese authorities, it is unlikely to do much more.
“It is a very difficult case,” Ku said. “In general, foreign governments are immune to being dragged into U.S. courts.”
Read the full article on The Washington Post website.