Coronavirus / Instagram / National Security / Politics

Hold China Accountable for COVID – By Law

ChinaDonald Trump called Communist China out on the merits.  As a result, few in either party now doubt China’s malintent, illegality, audacity, manipulation of the international community, and inhumanity at home.  The question is accountability. How does the free world keep China from continuing to break civilized norms – from violating signed treaties to trampling human rights, theft of intellectual property and cybercrime to letting loose dangerous space debris – and starting a global pandemic?

The answer is layered – strong alliances, military deterrence, trade sanctions, clear communication, and enforcement of the law.  This last is critical, as multiple US states – and perhaps in the future citizens, foreign nations, and multilateral organizations – are suing China for having brought death to their citizens with COVID.

Traditionally, sovereign immunity protects a foreign country from being sued by citizens of another country – without that country’s consent.  The idea is reciprocal protection against a phalanx of lawsuits for actions by the foreign country.

Specifically, since 1976, the US has followed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA, not to be confused with FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).  See 28 USC 1603, et seq. This Act put US Courts in charge of determining when a suit against a foreign country is permissible (rather than diplomats at State). See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Sovereign_Immunities_Act.

Generally, the FSIA law bars suits, but there are exceptions – including to sue a state for committing a “tort” (wrongful act resulting in civil liability) or for taking property in violation of international law.

In those cases, even under the 1976 act, suits can be brought.  To date, courts shy from these suits, for example, saying the entire tort – not just the result – must be committed in the US.  But views are expanding, and suits against China will test this doctrine.

More hopeful, another statute came to life in 2016 – a statutory exception to the rule that keeps foreign states from being sued.  This statute is the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), and it permits lawsuits in US courts for civil damages against a foreign country that causes injury, death, or damages in the US by “terrorism.”  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Against_Sponsors_of_Terrorism_Act.

Obviously, to win against China for having knowingly started or recklessly permitted the international spread of the virus causing COVID (or both), one would have to identify China as the source, state a tort (pushing JASTA’s current definition to include a foreign origin cause), or collect sufficient evidence to present a credible claim that China intended to spread the disease and that this amounts to terrorism.

Note also that other theories exist, and another possibility would be new legislation –introduced in the former Congress – that officially created an exemption to suits for what happened, by way of example, liability for reckless transmission of a virus that would foreseeably cause sickness and death, or some similar new exception.

So, where is this process – of holding China accountable in US courts for COVID deaths?  In truth, it continues to go forward, with at least two US states still pressing to hold China liable – even before any statute might open a new exception, specifically for the damage done by China to US citizens, the US economy, public health, and safety.

These two suits – filed in federal court – have been brought by Missouri and Mississippi.  New reports this month indicate they are full speed ahead, despite no new statutory exception to the immunity act and despite the jurisdictional issues raised above.

Said the Mississippi Attorney General last month, “Mississippi families and businesses deserve to be made whole for China’s malicious and dangerous actions” and “the suit is currently proceeding through the judicial process …”  Similarly, Missouri filed the first suit of this kind last year.  See, e.g., https://news.yahoo.com/states-keep-lawsuits-against-china-003456342.html.

While these two states are Republican, good reasons exist for more states to sue or for a consolidated suit to emerge – again seeking, as the dust settles, to hold China legally and financially accountable to Americans for enormous damage that their reckless handling and origination – with or without intent – caused.

Likewise, these suits should trigger a congressional and presidential re-look at the possibility of a quick turn statute that creates – like the terrorism exception to FSIA – a pandemic-causing exception to foreign sovereign immunity.

Bottom line:  If any of these suits prevailed, establishing Chinese liability in a US court based on legally admissible, open-source, or otherwise legally secured evidence, the ruling could trigger not billions but trillions in liability.

If that is unlikely – in the absence of a congressional exception, which the Biden-Harris White House and Democrats will oppose for diplomatic reasons – the possibility still exists.

More to the point, these suits are a spotlight – for the world to see.  They will make China uneasy the further they go.  They could trigger lawsuits by foreign countries or multilateral organizations against China.  They will inform public discussion of China’s fundamental negligence – at minimum, and force China to decline access to the evidence which would prove innocence or guilt.

Most of all, they are the tip of the spear – or first shield in a field of shields– that point to the illegality, immorality, and impermissible nature of China’s illegitimate behaviors, instigated by an illegitimate Communist government.

COVID is just one profound offense by Communist China against humanity – next should be suited in the US and international courts driving home the illegality of other behaviors, from cybercrime and intellectual property theft to interference with shipping routes, trade manipulation, and militarization of space to human rights violations and dropping multi-ton rocket debris into the earth’s atmosphere to crash – place unknown.

In the final analysis, lawsuits are one way to elevate, educate, and attempt to bring home the malicious, reckless, and negligent acts of foreign countries – especially when they play at the top of global affairs.  Time to hold China accountable – by law – for offenses that demand remedies.

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Tim Thompson
2 months ago

Seems since Joe Biden and his son took 1.5 billion dollars for who knows what, he may be part of the world order who thought a good pandemic would give them angles into getting rid of Trump even at the cost of so many lives around the world knowingly. China has not suffered whatsoever for the spread of the worldwide infection. Seems China Joe is still working with the Chinese and during the stealing of the election with possible ballots printed in China and sent to the US to insure illegal ballots got counted. China seems to have really been effected by their own infections, hmmm?

H. Fuster
2 months ago

eliminate this damn red circle from my screen; at least don’t put it in my field of sight !

Dale Single
2 months ago

If we can prosecute China for their crimes, and they don’t pay up we can hold all of their assets in the US and repatriate them.

Wilbert C. Jennings Jr
2 months ago

The Chinese are not responsible it is their Dictators.

Wanda
2 months ago

What China did with Covid was a biochemical weapon released (probably intentionally) upon the world….every country on this continent should have bombed China into the abyss.

Hal
2 months ago
Reply to  Wanda

No, just made it illegal for any Chinese National to touch foot on US Soil or any territorial soil under the umbrella of US control. Penalty – minimal of lengthy prison sentence in some prison in the Hawaii chain for any offender. Future contacts must be only in some non US soil (exception – United Nations delegate and small supporting attaches). And Hiden Biden should be run out of office for his complicity with China prePotus election.

Paul DAscenz
2 months ago

After the Covid-19 Pandemic.
China’s Products should be Boycotted by the USA.

Victoria Johnson
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul DAscenz

Americans will never give up their cheap, Chinese junk. They don’t care how it was made or by whom. All that matters is that it’s inexpensive and available. The Chinese know this so they’re not the slightest bit afraid of any boycott or repercussions.

Wanda
2 months ago

And who has benefited from Covid….China has because us dumb butts are still buying masks and PPE from them….How stupid can we get?

Myrna S Wade
2 months ago

What we need to do is make sure no American money ever sponsors “gain of function” research by China. Now that USA has first hand experience and knows what this means, make it illegal and watch for funding that will (or might) continue this stupid, barbaric research.

PaulE
2 months ago
Reply to  Myrna S Wade

Dr. Fauci was in charge of overseeing what the Chinese were doing in the P4 lab we helped design for them with U.S. taxpayer dollars. Yes, another Obama era FUBAR. The idea being that if we helped them design better, safer labs, the CCP would be more responsible when experimenting with dangerous viral pathogens.

Fauci was well aware, based on existing public testimony, that the Chinese were doing viral research in that lab with the specific goal of achieving gain of function from viruses they were experimenting with. He was also quite aware that the Chinese have a terrible track record when it comes to adhering to P4 safety protocols. The PLA has openly stated in documents, that they view biological weapons as a desired means to use against the west. So the NIH, which Dr. Fauci is essentially in charge of, was and is well aware of what “gain of function” in viruses can be used for.

Just an FYI.

PaulE
2 months ago

China specifically backed Joe Biden for President to ensure that NONE of the measures you suggest, to hold China accountable, would be implemented and that any measures put in place by President Trump would be nullified. That all seems to be well on track, based on the Biden administration’s responses to date. Sure the Biden administration will issue some “tough talk” on an occasional basis, strictly for PR purposes to promote the narrative in the media that he is a “strong leader”, but there will be no actual implementation of any strong measures that will impact China in any meaningful way.

Finally, the CCP doesn’t really seem to care about lawsuits in the same way western leaders do. They seem to view them, from my perspective, as an international exercise they have to tolerate until they become the lone global superpower, but they won’t abide or be held accountable by them if they stand in the way of any course of action they are pursuing. China already routinely disregards rulings against it from all sorts of international agencies and courts, when it suits them, and to date they have been allowed to get away with it. So while China should rightly be held accountable by the rest of the world, for both the creation and willful global dissemination of the Covid-19 virus by CCP officials, we not longer have an administration in Washington willing to do any of the things you are proposing.

Deb
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Well said Paul. Yet we can’t let this administration silence us into submission, into the anhedonia of depression of the spirit which is the ultimate goal of communism. Lately, I find the more I speak up and refuse to give up the more people around me, especially those who consider themselves the self-righteous far left, open to the truth about the Biden administrations neglect in handling China’s behavior. In the midst of the fervor over the pandemic, forced vaccines, violations of the Nuremberg Code we have lost sight of China’s most central crime: the 20+ year persecution and genocide of Falun Gong-the litmus test for its currents crimes against humanity. Let’s not lose our voices, or our nerve, in displeasing others with the truth and demanding justice.

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