Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) are calling for an international probe into how Beijing’s initial handling of the ongoing virus outbreak may have endangered the United States and the rest of the world.
In a resolution introduced in both chambers on March 24, the lawmakers asked Congress to condemn the Chinese regime for its coverup of the outbreak, which “almost certainly” heightened the CCP virus’s rapid global spread, they said.
Congress should also quantify the damage of such acts on the health and economic being of afflicted nations, the resolution stated.
The Epoch Times uses “CCP virus” to refer to the pathogen commonly known as novel coronavirus, because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
One of three legislative proposals introduced that day to take aim at the Beijing regime, the resolution also calls on the international community to design a mechanism for the CCP to deliver compensation accordingly.
“It is time for an international investigation into the role their coverup played in the spread of this devastating pandemic,” Hawley said in a joint press release with Stefanik. “The CCP must be held to account for what the world is now suffering.”
Media reports have detailed how Chinese authorities censored critical information when the virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan, located in Hubei province.
On Jan. 1, Hubei health authorities ordered a genomics testing company to stop virus testing, destroy all virus samples, and to keep their findings a secret, according to an expose by Chinese media Caixin.
Police tracked down multiple doctors who voiced concerns about the virus on social media, accusing them of spreading rumors and inciting public fear. Critics of Chinese authorities’ outbreak response were summoned and punished, and several outspoken citizen journalists disappeared after they tried to share firsthand videos from Wuhan.
On Jan. 13, Thailand confirmed the first infection outside of China, a day before the World Health Organization, citing Chinese investigations, announced that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”
A University of Southampton study, currently in preprint and not yet peer-reviewed, found that China could have stopped up to 95 percent of the virus’s geographical spread had it enacted containment measures earlier.
“There is no doubt that China’s unconscionable decision to orchestrate an elaborate coverup of the wide-ranging and deadly implications of coronavirus led to the death of thousands of people, including hundreds of Americans and climbing,” Stefanik said.
The resolution also took note of how senior Chinese officials have tried to push the conspiracy theory that the virus originated in the United States.
“Since day one, the Chinese Communist Party intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic,” Hawley said.
On the same day, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) also introduced a bipartisan resolution to condemn the CCP for the outbreak coverup and disinformation.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), meanwhile, introduced a bill called “No Chinese Handouts in National Assistance Act” to prevent any virus-related relief funds from flowing into China.
“Allowing American taxpayers’ money to go to companies owned by the Communist Chinese government is antithetical to our ‘America First’ agenda,” he said in a statement.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Tuesday called the CCP’s handling of the outbreak “one of the worst coverups in human history.”
“This is a systematic whitewash of what the Communist Party has done in China,” he told Fox News. He added that the virus “is now wreaking havoc all across the world, costing not only the lives of people but economic chaos.”
For “the harm, loss, and destruction their arrogance brought upon the rest of the world,” Stefanik said, China will need to pay.
“Simply put—China must, and will, be held accountable,” she said.