Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) are teaming up for a new bill in both the House and Senate that, if passed, would potentially open China up to a world of legal liability. While U.S. federal law typically prohibits American citizens from suing foreign governments for civil damages, Cotton and Crenshaw believe that the circumstances of China’s negligence regarding the coronavirus are extreme enough for a massive exception. The two appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Tuesday to explain why China should be held legally liable for what they have wrought on America.
“To me, the most revealing and dastardly evil thing that the Chinese government did — oh, they saw how bad Wuhan province was, so they cut all travel to and from Wuhan from within China but they let the planes got internationally,” Hannity said. “How nice of them.”
“Exactly. 5 million people left Wuhan,” Crenshaw said. “They allowed this virus to spread. They knew it would spread, they spread false talking points like it won’t spread from human to human contact. They didn’t let scientists in to investigate. They actually disappeared doctors who tried to blow the whistle. The number of deaths and infections they hid.”
Cotton said it went well beyond negligence, blaming “the evil intent of Chinese leaders” who may have “intentionally” allowed the virus to spread around the world.
“You also mentioned the hoarding of personal protection equipment, and trying to profiteer off of it, or even sending Chinese drones to America to collect information and send it back,” Cotton continued. “China has to pay for all of this.”
The Republicans are introducing the dual bills at a time when at least seven class action lawsuits have already been filed against China.
From Fox News:
Five of the lawsuits do not seek a specific amount of money or damages. One, however, wants China to fork over $20 trillion, while another wants $8 trillion. One lawsuit, filed last month by a personal injury law firm in Boca Raton, Fla., wants to “make China pay for what they’ve done” and accuses the country of acting “negligently in their handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The suit also claims that Beijing knew that “COVID-19 was dangerous and capable of causing a pandemic, yet slowly acted, proverbially put their head in the sand, and/or covered it up in their own economic self-interest.”
Jeremy Alters, the chief strategist and non-attorney spokesman for Berman, told Fox News that the suit is “an undertaking against a world superpower who has the ability to pay for what they’ve done.”
Without a special bill opening up a legal avenue for these lawsuits, however, it’s unclear if they can be successful. If Cotton and Crenshaw get their way, though, we could be on our way to making China pay – and pay dearly – for what could fairly be called the worst national negligence in modern history.