States continue lawsuits against China for ‘malicious’ role in COVID-19 pandemic


More than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, two Republican states are continuing efforts to hold China accountable for the spread of the virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and triggered an economic downturn including the United States. United still has not recovered. .

Mississippi and Missouri both sued China in federal court in the early days of the pandemic last year, joining several class actions against Beijing – at a time when the Trump administration accused China of being a key player in the pandemic.

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The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, and the secret Communist government has been accused of downplaying the virus and misleading the world in the early days of the pandemic – leaving other countries, including states -United, exposed and without time to prepare.

Legal experts have warned that the cases face lengthy difficulties as foreign governments typically enjoy immunity from domestic prosecution. But that doesn’t mean the Republican states plan to relinquish responsibility for the Chinese giant.

“Mississippi families and businesses deserve to be made good for China’s malicious and dangerous actions,” Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in a statement this week. “The lawsuit is currently ongoing as part of the legal process, and we look forward to the opportunity to seek justice for the people of Mississippi.”

Summons were issued to the Chinese Communist Party and a number of Chinese ministries by a Mississippi court in December, according to the WLBT, as well as by the Wuhan Institute of Virology – where the virus may have escaped.

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Missouri became the first state to take legal action against China in April last year, accusing the country of being responsible for the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and seeking damages to offset “the enormous loss of human life, human suffering and economic turmoil “. resulting from the disease.

The lawsuit says the pandemic was triggered after “a terrible campaign of deception, cover-up, mischief and inaction by Chinese authorities.”

“In the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed critical information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, allowed millions people from being exposed to the virus, and even piling up personal protective equipment, thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable, ”he said.

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The lawsuit is aimed at ensuring that the Chinese government, the CCP, and other organizations involved “stop engaging in abnormally dangerous activities, reimburse the cost of the state’s downsizing efforts, and pay compensatory and other damages.” . “

Missouri says the lawsuit is still ongoing, more than a year later.

“We are currently working on alternative methods of service, and we are acting as quickly as possible on this matter,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office told Fox News this week. “The attorney general’s office remains committed to holding the Chinese government accountable for its role in the pandemic.”

Prosecutions are in part hampered by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which limits the ability of Americans to sue foreign governments except in certain circumstances. Missouri has sought to get around this by suing the Chinese Communist Party itself. Meanwhile, other Republican lawmakers have attempted to reform the FSIA to allow citizens to sue China.

The push comes despite the Biden administration downgrading much of the rhetoric and actions taken by the Trump administration in response to China’s role in the virus outbreak.

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Trump has often called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” which President Biden avoided. Meanwhile, Trump has pulled the United States out of the World Health Organization because of its perceived pro-China bias. The Biden administration overturned that decision.

However, in February, the Biden administration then expressed “deep concerns” about the investigation into China’s handling of the coronavirus, over concerns about Chinese interference in the investigation.

Fox News’s Tyler Olson and Julia Musto contributed to this report.

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