GOP rep calls for US to bring international case against China over coronavirus

GOP rep calls for US to bring international case against China over coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is pushing for the State Department and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters The failure of the other police officers to stop George Floyd's killing may be the biggest challenge 18 state attorneys general request authority to investigate local police MORE to launch an international case against China for the damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the country’s initial efforts to conceal the outbreak of the deadly virus in Wuhan and spread misinformation about its origin prevented other countries from taking steps that could have contained its spread, arguing that Beijing's actions warrant legal repercussions. 

“If China’s leaders hadn’t become embarrassed by the outbreak and tried to cover up its spread, the world may have had a better chance to prepare for this or even contain it in Wuhan or China. Instead, we have a pandemic,” he said in a statement. 

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“China shoulders most of that blame," he continued. "Rather than succumb to the propaganda and spin of Chinese officials, the world must hold them accountable for mishandling this outbreak. If the United Nations cannot even do that, it has completely lost its purpose.” 

The Indiana Republican is currently circulating a letter among his colleagues in an effort to gain support for his call to bring the matter before the United Nations International Court of Justice. The letter is slated to be sent to Barr and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump Pepper spray fired during Tiananmen Square memorial in Hong Kong The Hill's 12:30 Report: NYT publishes controversial Tom Cotton op-ed MORE in the coming weeks.

Banks, a China hawk, introduced a resolution last month condemning the Chinese government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The resolution garnered 52 co-sponsors in the House. 

Rep. Lance GoodenLance GoodenGOP lawmakers call for new sanctions on senior Chinese officials Hillicon Valley: Uber lays off 3,000 | FBI unlocks Pensacola shooter's phones | Lawmakers introduce bill restricting purchase of airline equipment from Chinese companies Bipartisan bill would restrict purchases of airport equipment from Chinese companies MORE (R-Texas) also recently introduced legislation aimed at allowing the Justice Department to investigate the origins of the virus and to file claims against China.