Bill to allow Americans to sue China over coronavirus pandemic

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Chairman Graham Applauds Committee Passage of Bill to Allow Americans to Sue China Over Coronavirus Pandemic

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after the Committee approved the Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act (S. 4212). The Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act would allow American citizens to sue China in federal court for damage done to their families and businesses by the coronavirus.

The committee approved the bill by a vote of 13-9. Graham is a cosponsor of the legislation.

The legislation is modeled after the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which allowed lawsuits against officials in Saudi Arabia that were allegedly involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I’m very pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out the Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act that would allow American citizens to sue China for damage done to their families and businesses from the coronavirus.

“It is clear to me that the Chinese Communist Party deceived the world and manipulated information about coronavirus. China restricted travel within China to slow the spread, but allowed people from China to travel throughout the world increasing the spread.

“To those who have suffered from the coronavirus, your suffering is directly related to the outrageous behavior of the Communist Party of China. China was negligent in dealing with the origins of the virus and deceiving the world about the nature of the virus.  Americans deserve their day in court.

“I promised to hold China accountable for coronavirus and I am.”

McSally, Senators Introduce Bill to Allow Americans to Sue China over COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act to allow Americans to sue China in federal court for its role in causing the coronavirus pandemic. This legislation incorporates previous stand-alone bills introduced by Sens. McSally and BlackburnSen. Hawley, and Sen. Cotton to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable.

McSally said: “Americans who have been victimized by the lies and deceit of the Chinese Communist Party—to include those who lost loved ones, suffered business losses, or were personally harmed due to COVID-19—deserve the opportunity to hold China accountable and to demand just compensation. Our bill will empower Americans to do just that by providing them with the legal tools necessary to sue the Chinese government in federal court for creating and worsening the COVID-19 pandemic. As the death toll and financial losses of COVID-19 mount, China should be forced to pay the costs of these damages to the American people.”

Blackburn said: “China’s Communist Party must face consequences for concealing and now profiting off the COVID-19 pandemic they enabled. The costs are devastating: trillions of dollars in economic damage, millions of American jobs lost, and over a half million deaths worldwide – and counting. Business owners and families who have lost loved ones deserve justice. Under this legislation, Americans will have the opportunity to bring a lawsuit against China in U.S. court and recover compensation for the harm caused to our country.”

Cotton said: “By silencing doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus to spread quickly around the globe. Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm. It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused.”

Hawley said: “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and lead the effort to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the devastation they have unleashed on the world. This pandemic is far from over, and every day Americans continue to suffer thanks to the CCP’s incompetence and lies. The victims deserve to have their day in court.”

Rounds said: “China must be held accountable for its failure to contain COVID-19,” said Rounds. “China’s delay in sharing the seriousness of the virus with the rest of the world isn’t just negligence—it is criminal in nature. If China would have been transparent from the start, many more lives would have been saved in all parts of the world. Our legislation provides the tools necessary for American citizens to sue the Chinese Communist Party in federal court for financial losses incurred because of COVID-19.”

Tillis said: “The Chinese Communist Party lied to the world about COVID-19 and allowed it to become a global pandemic, causing many Americans to tragically lose their loved ones and face immense financial hardship. The American people deserve the right to hold the Chinese government accountable for its malicious actions, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this commonsense bill.”

Read the bill text HERE.

Background:

  • The Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act:
    • Gives federal courts authority to hear claims that China has caused or substantially contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Strips China of its sovereign immunity for reckless actions that caused the COVID-19 pandemic and creates a cause of action.
    • Authorizes federal courts to freeze Chinese assets.
    • Is closely modeled after the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that gave more legal remedies to victims of terrorism, particularly those of 9/11 victims.

Source: US Senate

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