Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Representatives John Curtis (R-Utah), Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), Ted Yoho (R-Florida), Jim Banks (R-IN), and Liz Cheney (R-WY) will introduce the Li Wenliang Global Public Health Accountability Act, legislation that would authorize the president to sanction foreign officials who suppress or distort information about international public health crises, including the Wuhan coronavirus. Bill text may be found here.
"The Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for misleading the world about the scope and danger of the coronavirus. Dr. Li Wenliang bravely tried to warn his country and the world about the spread and seriousness of this virus. We should honor his legacy and do our part to hold the CCP accountable for this pandemic."Senator Hawley
"Dr. Li tried to warn his country and the world about the Wuhan coronavirus, but he was silenced by the Chinese Communist Party. By hiding the truth about the virus, the CCP turned a regional health problem into a global catastrophe. In honor of Dr. Li, our bill seeks to punish foreign officials responsible for suppressing information about international health crises, including the Wuhan virus," said Cotton.
"As Dr. Li Wenliang said, ‘A Healthy Society Shouldn’t Only Have One Voice.’ By suppressing critical public health information, officials in China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and elsewhere have demonstrated they care more about maintaining their grip on power than the health and wellbeing of their people. The Li Wenliang Global Public Health Accountability Act—named after the heroic Chinese doctor whistleblower—will ensure that dictators and their cronies think twice before once allowing a local health crisis spiral out of control into a pandemic that endangers the globe," said Curtis.
"Had the Chinese Communist Party listened to — rather than suppressed — Dr. Li and his repeated warnings about the coronavirus, we could have prevented this global pandemic and saved lives. Instead, Chinese officials deliberately lied and misled the world about the severity of this virus in an effort to protect their reckless regime. It’s time we hold these apparatchiks accountable for the damage they’ve done to the world," said Gallagher.
- The Li Wenliang Global Public Health Accountability Act is sanctions legislation modeled after the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
- It would authorize the president to sanction foreign officials who suppress or distort information about international public health crises, including the Wuhan coronavirus.
- These sanctions include inadmissibility to the United States, revocation of existing U.S. visas, and the blocking of all property within the United States.
- This legislation would provide Congress with the authority to request that the president review specific foreign officials for sanctions eligibility. Within 120 days of receiving such a request, the president must report to Congress on whether he/she intends to impose sanctions.