Senator Josh Hawley: Investigate China. They Must Pay.
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Senator Josh Hawley: Investigate China. They Must Pay.

On Monday, Missouri GOP senator Josh Hawley issued an op-ed on Fox News in which he called for an international investigation into the Communist Chinses government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, adding, “It is time for Beijing to pay for the tens of thousands of lives stolen and billions of dollars lost as a result of its lies.”

Hawley starts by stating that the Chinese Communist Party is aware that it bears responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic. He continues, “That’s why Beijing has gone on a propaganda offensive to try to deflect blame anywhere it can, including right here at the United States.”

Hawley states bluntly:

It is time for an international investigation into Beijing’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus. And it is time for Beijing to pay for the tens of thousands of lives stolen and billions of dollars lost as a result of its lies. The Chinese Communist Party has done everything it can to hide the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Party officials interrogated and punished Chinese doctors who tried to warn others as the virus began to spread. They ordered laboratories to stop testing for the virus and destroy their samples when it became clear that an outbreak was underway. They even sat on evidence showing the virus could be transmitted between humans. By the time they shared that information, the virus had already spread to other nations.

Hawley notes that the Chinese Communist Party denied Ameican experts access to China in January, and stole precious weeks from the United States and others who could have used that time to ready our national defenses.” He pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party protests that it handled the coronavirus outbreak transparently and did it well, but in reality, the opposite is true. He iterated, “Beijing wants the world to trust it and grow dependent on it, so that it can control us. But the world won’t easily do that if it knows that Beijing is responsible for this pandemic.”

Noting the claims from Chinese officials that the virus did not originate in Wuhan but instead that it came from the United States or Italy, that China “bought time” for the world to prepare for coronavirus, and that others wasted time, Hawley blasts, “These are outrageous lies. It is time to hold Beijing accountable for the suffering it has caused.

Hawley writes:

The first step to holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable is an international investigation. That is why I have introduced a Senate resolution calling on the United States and other nations to investigate how Beijing’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak contributed to this pandemic. We need to know exactly what the Party knew, when it knew it, and how the Party’s decisions to try and hide the virus allowed it to spread and kept the United States and other nations from protecting ourselves sooner.

… The next step to holding Beijing accountable is to force it to pay for the lives and livelihoods that it has destroyed. My resolution calls on the international community to seek justice together by quantifying the harm caused by the Party’s mishandling of this disease and designing a way to secure payment from Beijing to compensate for that harm.

Last week, James Kraska, the chair and Charles H. Stockton professor of international maritime law in the Stockton Center for International Law at the U.S. Naval War College, argued that China should make recompense for the damage wrought by the coronavirus, writing:

As one of the 194 states party to the legally binding 2005 International Health Regulations, China has a duty to rapidly gather information about and contribute to a common understanding of what may constitute a public health emergency with potential international implications … Article 6 of the International Health Regulations requires states to provide expedited, timely, accurate, and sufficiently detailed information to WHO about the potential public health emergencies identified in the second annex in order to galvanize efforts to prevent pandemics …

Under Article 31 of the Articles of State Responsibility, states are required to make full reparations for the injury caused by their internationally wrongful acts. Injuries include damages, whether material or moral. Injured states are entitled to full reparation “in the form of restitution in kind, compensation, satisfaction and assurances and guarantees of non-repetition” (Article 34). Restitution in kind means that the injured state is entitled to be placed in the same position as existed before the wrongful acts were committed (Article 35).

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