Suing China

The Chinese regime is responsible for the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Only the extent of the regime’s culpability is in question.  That should be resolved legally if possible, not only on behalf of the United States, but all nations affected by the outbreak, with appropriate financial restitution and security safeguards as compensation. 

Even if legal action proves unsuccessful due to jurisdictional or other issues, pursuing it would be advantageous.  It would force evidence of official Chinese complicity into the open, hopefully act as a future deterrent to China and other aggressive and/or irresponsible regimes, and force the Democrats and their media helpmates to choose sides -- either for the U.S. or for China.

There are a number of reasons why China could and should be held legally liable for damages associated with the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from an intentional act, to reckless disregard of international health and welfare, to plain unmitigated negligence.  Open and transparent judicial proceedings are the best way to determine the level of China’s responsibility, while providing the Communist regime an opportunity to offer a defense, if there is one. 

In a legal sense, China is a classic “deep pocket.”  A transparent legal judgment would provide the U.S. (and other nations) a legal basis for cancelling trillions of dollars of Chinese debt.  Cancelling such debt without a judgment, while attractive rhetorically, would be extremely damaging to America’s standing as holding the currency of last resort, and the U.S. is highly unlikely to do it.  In fact, most at risk are smaller poorer nations, also heavily indebted to China, which might be happy to join international legal action against the regime.

Up until recently, it was “tin-foil hat” territory to suggest that China deliberately unleased the coronavirus on the world in order to further its quest for global dominance.  No longer.  There’s no publicly available evidence to prove China intentionally developed and loosed the virus, but this can’t be discounted entirely.  If any regime is sufficiently coldblooded, capable, and historically inclined to do such a thing, it’s China.  The Chinese Communist regime is among the most ruthless in history, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of its own citizens in pursuit of chimeric ideological goals.  However, such a claim would be almost impossible to prove in a legal proceeding absent direct “smoking gun” evidence.

More likely, the coronavirus pandemic was caused by security lapses in a Wuhan infectious disease laboratory studying the virus in bats.  There is abundant circumstantial evidence to support this theory, and it’s quite likely American (and perhaps other) intelligence agencies have hard evidence to this effect, not yet publicly disseminated.   

In addition, it’s a documented fact that the Chinese government, even after it knew of the viral outbreak in Wuhan, allowed international travel in and out of the region, even while sealing the area off from the rest of China.  At best this was wantonly reckless.  At worst, it was a deliberate attempt to spread the disease -- to even out its losses -- once Chinese officials realized they had a real disaster on their hands.

The regime’s attempts to hide the origins of the outbreak, such as blaming it on bats from a Wuhan “wet market,” further demonstrates the regime’s culpability in terms of managing the outbreak, even if it did not intentionally launch it.

At the very least, the Chinese regime was incredibly negligent in its handling of the entire matter. This, if demonstrated in proceedings, and regardless of whether the Chinese acted intentionally, is sufficient to impose liability. 

There are practical problems in bringing such legal actions.  Domestically, such suits are barred in most circumstances by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Missouri recently filed suit in U.S. District Court against China, arguing its claims are exempt from the Act.  Likewise, some Republican Congressmen have proposed legislation that would allow private U.S. citizens to file similar suits.

Predictably, left-leaning international law professors have come charging to China’s defense, arguing that even if clever state lawyers or federal legislation were to get around the Act, it would have adverse results since other nations would retaliate by allowing similar suits against the U.S. 

Be that as it may, the U.S. government itself can seek legal recourse against China in the International Court of Justice, or through the establishment of an ad hoc international tribunal.  Since America is hardly the only country that might benefit through such action, garnering international support should be doable, despite China’s clout.  China would have to agree to subject itself to such a proceeding.  But a rejection would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, and then help underpin any other unilateral actions the U.S. might take.

Finally, such a course would force Democrats to choose whose side they are on.  Up to this point the answer seems to be China, with Democrats in Congress and their media helpmates, bending over backwards to minimize Chinese culpability, in order to continue their relentless attacks on President Trump.  Even Joe Biden’s recent ad, accusing Trump of going soft on China, has come in for heavy criticism in the left-wing media, for “playing Trump’s game.”

International courts and tribunals historically are not much to America’s liking, but occasionally -- as at Nuremberg -- can serve important purposes.  This is one.

The Chinese regime is responsible for the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Only the extent of the regime’s culpability is in question.  That should be resolved legally if possible, not only on behalf of the United States, but all nations affected by the outbreak, with appropriate financial restitution and security safeguards as compensation. 

Even if legal action proves unsuccessful due to jurisdictional or other issues, pursuing it would be advantageous.  It would force evidence of official Chinese complicity into the open, hopefully act as a future deterrent to China and other aggressive and/or irresponsible regimes, and force the Democrats and their media helpmates to choose sides -- either for the U.S. or for China.

There are a number of reasons why China could and should be held legally liable for damages associated with the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from an intentional act, to reckless disregard of international health and welfare, to plain unmitigated negligence.  Open and transparent judicial proceedings are the best way to determine the level of China’s responsibility, while providing the Communist regime an opportunity to offer a defense, if there is one. 

In a legal sense, China is a classic “deep pocket.”  A transparent legal judgment would provide the U.S. (and other nations) a legal basis for cancelling trillions of dollars of Chinese debt.  Cancelling such debt without a judgment, while attractive rhetorically, would be extremely damaging to America’s standing as holding the currency of last resort, and the U.S. is highly unlikely to do it.  In fact, most at risk are smaller poorer nations, also heavily indebted to China, which might be happy to join international legal action against the regime.

Up until recently, it was “tin-foil hat” territory to suggest that China deliberately unleased the coronavirus on the world in order to further its quest for global dominance.  No longer.  There’s no publicly available evidence to prove China intentionally developed and loosed the virus, but this can’t be discounted entirely.  If any regime is sufficiently coldblooded, capable, and historically inclined to do such a thing, it’s China.  The Chinese Communist regime is among the most ruthless in history, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of its own citizens in pursuit of chimeric ideological goals.  However, such a claim would be almost impossible to prove in a legal proceeding absent direct “smoking gun” evidence.

More likely, the coronavirus pandemic was caused by security lapses in a Wuhan infectious disease laboratory studying the virus in bats.  There is abundant circumstantial evidence to support this theory, and it’s quite likely American (and perhaps other) intelligence agencies have hard evidence to this effect, not yet publicly disseminated.   

In addition, it’s a documented fact that the Chinese government, even after it knew of the viral outbreak in Wuhan, allowed international travel in and out of the region, even while sealing the area off from the rest of China.  At best this was wantonly reckless.  At worst, it was a deliberate attempt to spread the disease -- to even out its losses -- once Chinese officials realized they had a real disaster on their hands.

The regime’s attempts to hide the origins of the outbreak, such as blaming it on bats from a Wuhan “wet market,” further demonstrates the regime’s culpability in terms of managing the outbreak, even if it did not intentionally launch it.

At the very least, the Chinese regime was incredibly negligent in its handling of the entire matter. This, if demonstrated in proceedings, and regardless of whether the Chinese acted intentionally, is sufficient to impose liability. 

There are practical problems in bringing such legal actions.  Domestically, such suits are barred in most circumstances by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Missouri recently filed suit in U.S. District Court against China, arguing its claims are exempt from the Act.  Likewise, some Republican Congressmen have proposed legislation that would allow private U.S. citizens to file similar suits.

Predictably, left-leaning international law professors have come charging to China’s defense, arguing that even if clever state lawyers or federal legislation were to get around the Act, it would have adverse results since other nations would retaliate by allowing similar suits against the U.S. 

Be that as it may, the U.S. government itself can seek legal recourse against China in the International Court of Justice, or through the establishment of an ad hoc international tribunal.  Since America is hardly the only country that might benefit through such action, garnering international support should be doable, despite China’s clout.  China would have to agree to subject itself to such a proceeding.  But a rejection would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, and then help underpin any other unilateral actions the U.S. might take.

Finally, such a course would force Democrats to choose whose side they are on.  Up to this point the answer seems to be China, with Democrats in Congress and their media helpmates, bending over backwards to minimize Chinese culpability, in order to continue their relentless attacks on President Trump.  Even Joe Biden’s recent ad, accusing Trump of going soft on China, has come in for heavy criticism in the left-wing media, for “playing Trump’s game.”

International courts and tribunals historically are not much to America’s liking, but occasionally -- as at Nuremberg -- can serve important purposes.  This is one.