Missouri sues China for 'lying to the world' and doing little to stop spread of coronavirus
China has come under increasing criticism in the US over the reported origin of the coronavirus pandemic at one of its labs in Wuhan. While a debate is still on whether it is just a conspiracy theory and if the virus actually spread from a wet market in the same city, political leaders and common people in America are accusing China of putting the entire world in grave danger.
The US has been left devastated by the outbreak as more than 825,000 lives have been affected and over 45,000 have died. Its economy has also been battered with millions turning jobless because of the shutdown.
The China angle has united the US' political class against Beijing and recently, a few lawmakers introduced bills to empower American citizens to sue the Asian power over the spread of COVID-19.
And now, the state of Missouri has filed a lawsuit against the government of China over the outbreak, alleging that the Chinese officials are to blame for the devastation caused around the world. Over 2.5M people have been hit worldwide while more than 177,000 lives have been lost.
On Tuesday, April 21, the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for Eastern Missouri said the Chinese officials are "responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians". The lawsuit names the People’s Republic of China — the official Chinese government — and the Chinese Communist Party.
'China lied to the whole world'
"The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease. They must be held accountable for their actions," Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt's office said in a written statement.
Schmitt, who announced on Twitter his filing the lawsuit against China to seek recovery for the loss of lives and economic devastation, accused China of negligence and said the pandemic has caused the Cave State economic damage worth billions of dollars.
"In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real. Thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table," Schmitt said.
This move marked the first instance of China being sued for its handling of the outbreak. The disease reportedly started in China towards the end of 2019 and it steadily engulfed the entire world over the next few months. While China's own infection rate lessened later, western countries like the US, Italy, Spain, France, the UK, Germany and others have witnessed the outbreak only worsening.
From President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel to French President Emmanuel Macron, various foreign leaders have expressed concerns over the transparency standards that Beijing has followed amid the pandemic.
The US has even slammed the World Health Organization saying it has shown a bias towards Beijing. The US recently froze its funding for the health body.
On April 20, as many as 22 Republican lawmakers asked the Trump administration to drag China to the International Court of Justice over its dubious actions in dealing with the pandemic.
Missouri, however, has not been as badly affected as New York and has just over 200 deaths so far with more than 6,000 confirmed cases. According to a Fox report, one estimate says the lockdowns to prevent the virus' spread have caused a damage of $44B.
China though has tried to defend itself against the global accusations saying it is time for the international community to stay united and fight the crisis and not attack and discredit others.