Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” Friday that China needs to “pay a price” for its role in the global coronavirus pandemic.
Hice has joined the fellow Republicans who blame Beijing for hiding important data during the initial outbreak that could have helped prepare other countries for their coronavirus response. Hice said China has “inflicted” great pain on the world, both physical and economic.
“They need to be held accountable,” he said. “They need to pay a price.”
The Georgia Republican said he believes “there will be some action against China when all is said and done.”
“There’s no question the pain, both physically and economically that China has inflicted on this world is beyond words,” the congressman said.
China has been criticized from the virus’ onset in the Hubei province city of Wuhan. One of the most embarrassing episodes for Beijing was when a local doctor raised early concerns about the disease was forced to sign a letter for “making false comments.”
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Dr. Li Wenliang eventually died from the disease.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been one of the most vocal critics of China’s response to the outbreak. Last month, he said that Beijing “created a disinformation campaign” during the early stages of the virus, which resulted in its spread.
“They haven’t been sufficiently transparent and the risk you find, if we don’t get this right, if we don’t get to the bottom of this, is this could be something that is repeatable,” Pompeo said in March. “Maybe not in this form, maybe not in this way, but transparency matters.”
Robert O’Brien, a U.S. national security adviser, told Reuters that the Chinese delay likely cost the world two months of preparation.
Beijing has criticized the Trump administration over its early travel ban to the country and went so far as to claim that the U.S. military could have planted the virus.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian took to Twitter, “When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
Hice is not the only politician to call for China to be held accountable, but questions remain on what measures could be taken.
Sara Carter, the award-winning correspondent and host of “The Sara Carter Show” podcast, called out Democrats for creating a new House committee to investigate the U.S.’s coronavirus response and said their focus is misdirected.
Carter told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show,” If they are going to do a 9/11-style commission, then they should investigate China and investigate China’s malfeasance and what they’ve done to the entire world,”
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israel-based attorney who specializes in suing state sponsors of terror who orchestrate human rights abuses on behalf of victims, told Fox News that countries like China generally “have sovereign immunity and governments cannot be brought to regular courts or held liable regardless of their conduct.”
“However, an argument could be made that just like support for terrorism, which is legally actionable, a government that engages in such reckless disregard and negligence and covers up an epidemic which has the potential to spread worldwide could be held legally liable,” Darshan-Leitner said.