Sen. Hawley: Let coronavirus victims sue Chinese Communist Party
Sen. Josh Hawley unveiled new legislation this week to allow victims of the coronavirus pandemic to sue the Chinese Communist Party directly for damages by stripping the government of its sovereign immunity.
The Missouri Republican said the “Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act” will hold China’s government responsible for the global pandemic, create a State Department task force to investigate Beijing’s handling of the outbreak and secure money from the Chinese government for the victims.
“The CCP unleashed this pandemic,” Hawley said. “They must be held accountable to their victims.”
Hawley’s legislation would make the Chinese government subject to civil claims filed in U.S. courts. It would also launch an international investigation to determine how Beijing’s efforts to conceal and distort information put the world at risk and create a global effort to compel the Chinese government to provide restitution to victims, Hawley’s office said.
“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,” Hawley said in a statement. “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 legislation creates a private right of action against the Chinese government for any reckless action that caused the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, such as withholding information and gagging doctors who warned of the novel coronavirus. The bill strips the Chinese government of sovereign immunity for these actions so that plaintiffs can sue and allows courts to freeze Chinese government assets so victims can enforce their claims.