Senator Hawley Announces Bill to Hold Chinese Communist Party Responsible for COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Today, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced the Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Act to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responsible for causing the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The bill would strip China of its sovereign immunity and create a cause of action against the CCP for reckless actions like silencing whistleblowers and withholding critical information about COVID-19. The plan would also create the Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Task Force at the State Department to launch an international investigation into Beijing’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and to secure compensation from the Chinese government.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the Chinese Communist Party’s lies, deceit, and incompetence caused COVID-19 to transform from a local disease outbreak into a global pandemic. We need an international investigation to learn the full extent of the damage the CCP has inflicted on the world and then we need to empower Americans and other victims around the world to recover damages. The CCP unleashed this pandemic. They must be held accountable to their victims.”

Senator Josh Hawley

Senator Hawley was the first member of Congress to call for an investigation into the CCP’s cover-up of the COVID-19 pandemic and recently joined Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in introducing the Li Wenliang Global Public Health Accountability Act to authorize sanctions on foreign officials who suppress or distort information about international public health crises.

The Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Act will:

  • Empower American citizens and States to sue the Chinese government for damages by:
    • Making the Chinese government liable for civil claims in U.S. courts;
    • Creating a cause of action against the Chinese government for any reckless action it took that caused the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, such as its decisions to withhold information and to gag doctors;
    • Stripping the Chinese government of sovereign immunity for these actions; and
    • Giving U.S. courts power to freeze Chinese government assets.
  • Launch the Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Task Force, which will oversee and coordinate the federal government’s efforts to hold Beijing accountable by:
    • Leading an international commission to determine fully how Chinese government attempts to conceal the COVID-19 outbreak—including by using the World Health Organization to parrot its lies—contributed to this pandemic; and
    • Preparing options to force the Chinese government to pay damages to individuals and reimburse governments worldwide for the costs of protecting their citizens and providing relief during the economic crisis that has resulted from this pandemic.