Would strip Chinese Gov’t of sovereign immunity…Smith Bill Would Allow Lawsuits Against China for Its Deliberate Mishandling of COVID-19
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), joined by Congressman Ron Wright (R-TX), introduced legislation today to allow U.S. citizens and local governments to sue the government of China and hold it accountable for the deaths, pain and suffering—as well as the economic crisis—resulting from its intentional misrepresentations to the World Health Organization (WHO) which enabled the coronavirus to spread viciously throughout the U.S. and around the globe.
“My bill strips China, and any other country which intentionally misleads the WHO, of its sovereign immunity, and allows Americans to sue the Chinese government in court for the damages they have suffered as a consequence of China’s misrepresentations to the world about the seriousness and nature of the novel coronavirus,” Smith said.
“Knowing full well that they had a deadly, and highly contagious disease on their hands, as late as mid-January China’s communist leaders told the WHO that there was no need for any precautions, as everything was under control. Fact is, it wasn’t.
“Many Americans have died, some will suffer permanent injuries, while still others will suffer harm to their businesses because of the Chinese government’s lies. My bill makes it possible for Americans to recover some of what they have lost from China.”
Smith has been a leader in the US Congress challenging the Chinese government’s horrific human rights record, its regular use of torture, and the scant regard it shows for the health and safety of the Chinese people. He said the legislation gives voice to Americans impacted by China's misinformation and fits well with his human rights work. He said the bill, HR 6524, was prompted in part by sentiment expressed from around the country, including the strong statement released earlier this week by New Jersey Republican Chairman Doug Steinhardt, who had also called for removing China’s sovereign immunity.
Smith called upon his colleagues to pass HR 6524, citing legislation from four years ago that allowed, for the first time, victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for its support of and alleged complicity with the 9/11 hijackers.
“The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), was finally enacted over the veto of President Barack Obama, and rightfully allowed the families of 9/11 victims to seek justice against Saudi Arabia. Like JASTA,” Smith said, “today’s bill will allow victims of China’s malign behavior to hold that government to account.”
Smith serves as ranking member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and for many years was its chairman. He has held more than 60 hearings on the Chinese government’s abuses of the human rights of its own citizens.