Former CDC director testifies that COVID-19 most likely originated from Wuhan lab Smith, Burgess introduce legislation to allow US citizens the right to sue Chinese Communist Party for its COVID-19 misrepresentation campaign
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, today reintroduced legislation with Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) to allow US citizens the right to sue the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and hold the regime accountable for its large-scale misrepresentation campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Smith-Burgess legislation comes on the heels of new testimony offered by former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield on Wednesday that COVID-19 most likely originated from a Wuhan lab as well as recent reports that the US Energy Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hold similar assessments.
“Knowing that Xi Jinping and his Communist regime systematically failed to be truthful and transparent, our legislation seeks to not only gain access to more information but also provide much-needed relief to the loved ones of those who died and others who have suffered severe economic loss during the pandemic,” said Smith, who has chaired over 80 congressional hearings on the CCP’s egregious human rights abuses.
“The Chinese Communist Party refusal to provide real time information killed Americans,” said Burgess. “The American people lost loved ones and suffered a multitude of losses during the Coronavirus pandemic. They deserve the ability to get answers from the CCP.”
“We must finally get to the truth about what happened and who was involved in this deception in order to bring justice to those who suffered profoundly from COVID-19,” Smith said.
The Smith-Burgess bill would waive the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and allow United States citizens the right to sue the Chinese government for monetary damages, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property occurring in the US as a result of the CCP’s willful or grossly negligent misrepresentation of information to the World Health Organization (WHO). It would also apply to other countries that provide misinformation to the WHO about the nature, seriousness or communicability of an infectious disease.
“Besides damages paid to those individuals who have endured so much pain and loss, our bill can bring discovery and the opportunity in court to ask probing questions that will hopefully lead to answers and help prevent this type of behavior in the future,” Smith said.
Last Congress, similar legislation authored by Smith—which he first introduced in April 2020—was blocked on a party-line vote by the Democrat-controlled Foreign Affairs Committee, marking the historic first recorded vote in the House of Representatives on the right to sue China for its lack of transparency over the COVID pandemic.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Smith, who noted some of the deleterious consequences resulting from the CCP’s failure to be transparent about the COVID-19 crisis, including the enormous loss of life with close to 36,000 deaths in his home state of New Jersey; over 1.1 million across the country; and at least 6.8 million throughout the entire world.
The Smith-Burgess bill shares a parallel track with the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorist Act (JASTA)—legislation enacted by Congress in 2016 over the veto of President Obama allowing the families of 9/11 victims to seek justice against Saudi Arabia for aiding and abetting the terrorists involved in the horrific attacks.