Mississippi to sue China over response to coronavirus outbreak
Mississippi has announced plans to file a lawsuit against China over its response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in Wuhan last year and has led to the deaths of more than 45,000 people in the U.S. so far.
In a statement announcing her plans on Wednesday, the state’s Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R) said that “too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up.”
“They must not be allowed to act with impunity,” she continued. “Mississippians deserve justice and I will seek that in court.”
The lawsuit will also seek damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, according to a release. The move follows a similar suit Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) filed against Beijing the day before over its handling of the outbreak.
The lawsuit will also pursue damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), according to a release.
Fitch is also calling on the Mississippi congressional delegation to back legislation recently introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) that would allow Americans to sue Beijing in an effort to recover damages for losses caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Specifically, the bill would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to create a narrow exception for damages caused by China’s dangerous handling of the Wuhan Virus outbreak,” a release detailing the measure states.
The move follows a similar suit from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) filed against Beijing the day before over its handling of the outbreak.
In a statement announcing the suit on Tuesday, Schmitt accused the Chinese government of lying to the world about the dangers posed by COVID-19 and doing little to stop the outbreak. He also called out the country over its alleged concealment of evidence and research pertaining to the outbreak.
The suit was met with swift backlash from. Beijing, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang calling the move “absurd” during a briefing on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.
“This so-called lawsuit is very absurd and has no factual and legal basis at all,” he said during the briefing, while also claiming that China was “open, transparent and responsible” in its response to the outbreak.” He also called on the Trump administration to “dismiss such vexatious litigation.”
The move comes several weeks after a bipartisan group of House members brought forth a resolution condemning the Chinese government over its response to the outbreak and accusing it of spreading misinformation to downplay the threat of the disease.