Suing China Over COVID-19 ‘Against International Law’

A medical worker disinfects a box containing COVID-19 samples for nucleic acid test at the center for disease control and prevention in Fengman District of Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, May 17, 2020. Photo: Yan Linyun / Xinhua
A medical worker disinfects a box containing COVID-19 samples for nucleic acid test at the center for disease control and prevention in Fengman District of Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, May 17, 2020. Photo: Yan Linyun / Xinhua

BEIJING (Xinhua) — Some U.S. officials’ attempts to sue China for causing the COVID-19 pandemic are outright violations of international law, according to an article carried by Wednesday’s People’s Daily.

According to media reports, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against China in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, demanding that the Chinese government take responsibility and make compensations for the global pandemic.

It was a gross violation of China’s national sovereignty and the principle of sovereign equality which is widely acknowledged by the international community and the UN Charter, according to the article under the byline of Huang Jin, president of the Chinese Society of International Law.

Huang criticized the move as an illegal act which is totally against international law.

China’s coronavirus response is a kind of sovereign or public action instead of a commercial action and should be protected by sovereign immunity, according to Huang.

The lawsuit was based on groundless ideas that China should be held accountable for the pandemic and that the Chinese government was hiding the outbreak, Huang said.

“These accusations have no factual or legal basis in international law,” he said.

The origin of the coronavirus is a matter for scientists to study and answer and shall not be politicized, said Huang, noting that according to international law, the question on the virus’ origin has nothing to do with state responsibility.

Huang pointed out that the Chinese government’s efforts in releasing information and epidemic prevention and control have complied with the International Health Regulations.

The coronavirus damages in the United States were caused by the missteps of the country itself and have no causal relationship with China’s COVID-19 response, Huang stressed.

China itself is a victim of the virus, Huang stressed. “We strongly oppose any attempt to politicize the pandemic and stage a farce of illegal accountability.”