Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) proposed legislation on Tuesday that would open up the Chinese government to litigation in American courts for its failure to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Hawley introduced the Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act, which would eliminate China’s sovereign immunity and create a private right of action against the Chinese government for gagging whistleblowers and withholding critical information regarding the coronavirus. Hawley’s legislation would also create a Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Task Force at the State Department to lead an international investigation into China’s handling of the pandemic and to obtain compensation from the Chinese.
He said in a statement on Tuesday:
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. 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.
The Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act would:
- Make the Chinese government liable for civil claims in U.S. courts by establishing a private right of action.
- Allow courts to freeze the Chinese government so victims can enforce their claims.
Hawley also recently introduced the Li Weliang Global Health Public Health Accountability Act with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) to allow sanctions against foreign officials who suppress information about international public health crises.
Hawley’s legislation follows as other lawmakers have also called to hold China accountable for spreading the coronavirus.
Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) unveiled the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Disease (COVID) Act of 2020, or the Stop COVID Act, which would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) to allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and let the DOJ file claims against the Chinese Communist Party in the United States.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.