by Bob Barr
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which controls the government and the citizenry of mainland China with an iron fist, is in large measure directly responsible for the incalculable economic and personal misery that has been visited on the United States and virtually every other country over the past four months resulting from the release of the coronavirus pandemic. It is time for the Trump administration to take concrete legal, economic, and diplomatic steps to hold Beijing accountable for this catastrophe.
That the virus originated inside mainland China is beyond dispute. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the CCP deliberately and intentionally withheld vital information about the virus from the United States and other nations, so as to limit our ability to stem its reach and minimize its devastation.
The Chinese government continues its campaign of misinformation and subterfuge to this day. This vile regime must be held accountable and the United States must lead that crusade.
The result of China’s intentional deception about COVID-19 has cost tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars in economic loss, even as it has led to immense suffering among the healthy as well. None of this was caused by good faith mistake or negligence. It was calculated and deliberate. The remonstrations by China’s lackeys at the World Health Organization (WHO) notwithstanding, the United States must take the lead in holding China accountable, in concrete and meaningful ways.
To start, President Donald Trump should announce the economic losses caused by COVID-19 will be offset by the U.S. debt owned by China; given that debt is a little over one trillion dollars, the last stimulus package alone would wipe it out completely.
Secondly, Trump should increase what he started in 2018, instituting severe restrictions on the ease with which Chinese students and researchers have gained access to our universities, research labs, and businesses. This wealth of information gained by having access to American institutions is highly valuable to the CCP as an important component in building the country’s economy and national defense, ultimately to be deployed against our interests. Severely crimping or cutting off this pipeline would be a blow to their plans.
Trade restrictions must also continue. COVID-19 revealed to even the most China-centric pundits the severity of the threat posed to U.S. supply chains running through China. While tariffs are not an ideal weapon to deploy against an adversary, those aimed at China should at least be leveraged to begin nudging U.S. interests out of China. And if not back into the U.S., then at least into less corrupt foreign nations where similarly cheap production of goods helps to lower costs for U.S. consumers.
Government contracts could be leveraged as well, prohibiting companies with supply chain links in China from winning contracts with our own government. Japan recently announced it is paying its businesses to leave China, which is also an option for the U.S. in the form of tax breaks or other incentives for repatriation.
Not to be lost in all this, is our relationship with the Republic of China, which should be strengthened publicly. The “One China” policy pressed internationally by the communist regime and acceded to by the U.S. since the Jimmy Carter administration, is a stain on America’s foreign policy and is long overdue for reconsideration. Trump has already made symbolic gestures in this direction, and now is the perfect time to accelerate such a move. It is time to start working more with Taiwan and less with its totalitarian counterpart on the mainland.
Hitting China in its fat wallet, whether directly or indirectly, will get their attention and pay dividends in the long run for American businesses and our own national interests. Important as it is to make Beijing pay monetarily for what it has done, hitting them legally may be equally important.
Conservative lawyer Larry Klayman recently filed a multi-trillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against the communist Chinese regime for its orchestration of the COVID-19 conspiracy. The U.S. Department of Justice should not watch from the sidelines in this battle.
Chinese assets in U.S. financial institutions should not remain immune from being frozen while legal steps are developed and undertaken.
The Justice Department in the recent past was quick to indict Russian collaborators for interfering in our elections. What China has done to harm the United States and its citizenry is far worse than what a group of Russian hackers allegedly did. If indictments of top Chinese officials responsible for visiting the COVID-19 pandemic on our country and for conspiring to cover it up is not already in the works, it should be.