Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is pressing a resolution “condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID–19,” including the phrase “Wuhan Virus.”
The former presidential candidate recently introduced S.Res. 580, a resolution calling on public officials to “condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment, racism, discrimination, and religious intolerance related to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019), and to call on federal law enforcement officials, working with state and local officials, to take specified steps.”
According to the resolution’s summary, federal officials should “expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes and incidents and threats against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, and investigate and prosecute perpetrators.” The measure also “recommits” the U.S. to its role in building inclusive, tolerant societies by “prioritizing language access and inclusivity in communication practices.”
The resolution particularly takes aim at the descriptors like the “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-flu,” contending that they constitute “anti-Asian terminology.”
Harris, along with Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) last month detailed their intention to introduce the resolution, with Duckworth accusing President Trump of conducting “inappropriate and racist efforts to ‘rebrand’ this disease.”
“Inflammatory and racist rhetoric from officials at the highest level of our government has contributed to a disturbing rise in hate-crimes targeting Asian Americans,” Hirono claimed, failing to mention that the descriptors have been used several times by establishment media outlets.
“Calling COVID-19 the ‘Wuhan virus’, ‘Kung flu’, or ‘Chinese virus’ isn’t clever or funny, it’s wrong and deeply harmful,” she added.
Despite their concerns, the virus did, indeed, originate in Wuhan, China, and U.S. officials say that China hid the severity of the virus. The U.S. subsequently halted funding to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) last month for “mismanaging and covering up” the severity of the threat alongside China.
“They’re a puppet of China, they’re China-centric to put it nicer,” Trump said on Tuesday. “They gave us a lot of bad advice.”
Trump has since sent a letter to W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning that he will reconsider the U.S. membership unless the organization takes drastic steps and “actually demonstrate independence from China”:
This is the letter sent to Dr. Tedros of the World Health Organization. It is self-explanatory! pic.twitter.com/pF2kzPUpDv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2020
While Harris focuses on condemning phrases like the “Wuhan Virus,” GOP lawmakers are moving to hold China accountable.
Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are promoting the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases Act (Stop COVID Act) “to ensure the Chinese Communist Party faces consequences for its role in spreading the coronavirus.”
“The Stop COVID Act will empower Americans to sue China in U.S. court and seek compensation for the devastating harm the deadly virus has caused to the economy and human life,” a release states.
Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-R) is leading the companion legislation in the House.
“Right now, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is a shield for the Chinese Communist Party to hide behind. We need to change that,” Gooden said in a statement. “The leadership of Senators Blackburn and McSally will be invaluable in our effort to do just that.”