MO Attorney General sues Chinese government

2 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Tuesday, April 21 2020 Apr 21, 2020 Tuesday, April 21, 2020 11:56:00 AM CDT April 21, 2020 in News
By: Claire Colby, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY —Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the state of Missouri against the Chinese government, Chinese Communist Party and other Chinese officials and institutions, according to a statement from Schmitt's office. 

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleges, “During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment (“PPE”)—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable.”

The lawsuit seeks relief on one count of public nuisance, one count of abnormally dangerous activities, and two counts of breach of duty. Remedies could include civil penalties and restitution, abatement of the public nuisance, cessation of abnormally dangerous activities, punitive damages and more, according to the statement. 

“COVID-19 has done irreparable damage to countries across the globe, causing sickness, death, economic disruption, and human suffering. In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real - thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table," Schmitt said in the statement. “The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease. They must be held accountable for their actions.”

The lawsuit notes the "immense negative impact" that COVID-19 has had on Missourians, pointing out the unprecedented number of jobless claims, the impact on Missouri's unemployment rate, and the impact on the State's budget now and in the future, according to the statement. 

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