Missouri is suing China alleging the country engaged in a campaign of deceit and concealment and failed to stop the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic. State Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, says the Chinese government, Chinese Communist Party, and other Chinese officials and institutions should be held accountable.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt briefs Capitol reporters in Jefferson City in September 2019 (Missourinet file photo)

“When Chinese authorities were well aware of human-to-human transmission, they didn’t do anything about it,” says Schmitt. “In fact, destroyed critical evidence, concealed those indications, silenced whistleblowers along the way, including health professionals in China, all of that losing valuable and critical time when this deadly virus could have been stopped in its tracks.”

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, says China hoarded personal protective equipment – causing the global pandemic that Schmitt says was unnecessary and preventable. He says China’s failures have led to Missouri’s loss of life and severe economic consequences.

State Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, speaks in support of the COVID-19 supplemental budget on April 8, 2020 in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

“And as legislators go back next week to craft a budget, they’re dealing with this in very real terms,” says Schmitt. “They’re going to have a real impact for real people.”

Missouri Democrats say the suit is a political stunt. State Representative Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, is the ranking Democrat on the Missouri House Budget Committee. He tells the Kansas City Star the state does not have a leg to stand on in the lawsuit and says Schmitt is wasting taxpayer money.

The lawsuit does not specify compensation but says it could include civil penalties, restitution, punitive damages, among other things.

Copyright © 2020 · Missourinet