Josh Hawley Announces Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act to Hold China Responsible

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley announced his intention to bring up the Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act in the chamber on Tuesday. The legislation would hold China accountable for covering up the nature of the lethal global coronavirus disease, most significantly making the nation’s government liable to claims in the U.S. court system.

The law would create “a private right of action against the Chinese government for any reckless action it took that caused the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, such as its decisions to withhold information and to gag doctors.”

Individuals who were diagnosed with the coronavirus disease could potentially sue the Chinese government for damages in American courts. The legislation has similarities to the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which enabled Americans to sue the Saudi Arabian government for damages related to their role in the 9/11 attacks.

China not only obfuscated the severity of the coronavirus disease, but the nation’s authoritarian communist government went so far as to forcibly silence doctors and medical professionals who identified it as a disease new to nature. The Chinese government initially tried to claim it was merely a renewed outbreak of the 2002 SARS disease, with which it has some similarities.

The legislation would allow American courts to freeze assets owned by Chinese government entities for use as compensation to coronavirus victims.

Hawley, identified by many as a leader of the Republican Party’s populist nationalist wing, slammed China’s deceit on the matter in a press release announcing the legislation.

“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. 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 CCP unleashed this pandemic. They must be held accountable to their victims.”

The law would commission an international investigation led by the State Department to formally identify China’s malfeasance and lead a global effort to secure compensation from China.