In a detailed and formalised form, claims against China have been collected in a recent lawsuit in Missouri. The lawsuit was filed with the Missouri Eastern District Court. The plaintiff is Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. There are several defendants. First, China as such. Second, the Communist Party of the PRC, a number of ministries and departments, the governments of Hubei and Wuhan, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Virology in Wuhan. The essence of the lawsuit is that as a result of a number of deliberate actions or omissions of the defendants, the COVID-19 virus entered the state of Missouri (the same wording can be substituted into the lawsuit of any other state if desired) and thereby led to the death and illness of large numbers of people and economic losses worth many billions of dollars. The key claims of the plaintiff include the following:
- Chinese doctors knew that the novel virus was transmitted from person to person in late December 2019 – early January 2020. Several doctors warned the authorities of the danger and published messages on social media. However, the relevant government agencies were in no hurry to draw conclusions from these assessments. The WHO was informed only on December 31, and according to the plaintiff, the information was incorrect. In particular, the PRC government had initially delayed relaying the information for several weeks, although it was supposed to report it within 24 hours.
China then delayed quarantine measures, which caused the spread of infection within the PRC and outside the country.
Government agencies tried to hide the correct information and put pressure on doctors who warned of the danger, including through the control of social media. The Chinese authorities did not transmit information on the genetic structure of the virus abroad until January 12, 2020. The crisis was only recognised at the level of senior government officials on January 20. And quarantine measures, according to the lawsuit, began only on January 23. As a result, time was lost, and the international community and WHO had incomplete or incorrect information. China continues to manipulate the facts and launched an active PR campaign to avert suspicions and shift blame for the epidemic to the US (using a narrative about the US military).
China has limited the supply of necessary protective equipment abroad, accumulating it at home, including for the purpose of commercial gain. The American companies that manufacture such equipment in the PRC have seen their facilities virtually nationalised.
The Chinese government, the Communist Party and other defendants acted deliberately and systematically.