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Feb. 10, 2024, 5 p.m.
1 state's plan to hold China accountable for COVID
1 state's plan to hold China accountable for COVID
['China', 'state', 'Missouri', 'court', 'Foreign']

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire.] By Michael J. Ellis Real Clear Wire More than four years after the outbreak of the COVID virus in Wuhan, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may finally face responsibility for its actions…

1 state's plan to hold China accountable for COVID

The state argued that China allowed COVID to spread, covered up critical information about the virus, and hoarded personal protective equipment, causing massive economic disruptions and loss of life that harmed the state and its citizens. China used its knowledge to stockpile PPE for itself while selling lower-quality equipment abroad and taking over factories that made masks for U.S. companies to stop any export of PPE. With its power over production and its superior knowledge of COVID, China could corner the PPE market before other participants knew what was happening. The allegations amounted to "Classic anti-competitive behavior, except on a country-wide scale." Stras therefore concluded that CCP's hoarding was commercial activity that had a direct effect in the United States, and sovereign immunity did not shield China from Missouri's lawsuit. The state must still prove that China hoarded PPE and that the direct effect of that hoarding caused a harm to Missouri and its citizens. The state will be able to present witnesses and documents without any cross-examination or rebuttal from China. In 2020, Sen. Tom Cotton introduced the "Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act." That bill would have allowed China to be sued in specified federal courts for tortious activity related to the spread of COVID, opening the door for a wide range of claims that are currently barred by the FSIA. Non-legal remedies, such as sanctions and diplomatic initiatives, could complement these efforts to ensure that China is held accountable for its actions. With its decision to allow Missouri to pursue one of its claims, the Eighth Circuit has applied an exception that respects the balance Congress struck in the FSIA. As a result, the citizens of Missouri will be the first with a chance to hold China accountable for its wrongful actions during the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.

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