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Smith/Wright Bill Would Allow Lawsuits Against China for Its Deliberate Mishandling of COVID-19

April 20, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), joined by Congressman Ron Wright (R-TX), introduced H.R. 6524, a bill 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,” said Congressman Smith. “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 prematurely, 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.”

"The media manipulation and spreading of false propaganda by certain State Parties have directly resulted in the loss of life around the world. Time and time again, we have seen actors such as Communist China use the World Health Organization (WHO) as a mouthpiece to spread lies and misinformation to the international community, and they need to be held accountable," said Congressman Wright. "I am proud to introduce this legislation with my colleague and friend Congressman Smith, allowing victims of these reckless and negligent actions to be compensated.”

Smith and Wright both serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Smith also 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. 

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