Calls for Chinese reparations gather steam in Washington, Berlin

by WorldTribune Staff, April 19, 2020

The United States can force China to pay reparations for the damages it inflicted on the world via its negligence in handling the Wuhan coronavirus, a U.S. congressman said.

The United Nations International Court of Justice can be used to hold China financially accountable, Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican, told Breitbart News Saturday.

The UN International Court of Justice. /

In Germany, meanwhile, the Bild newspaper delivered a powerful editorial attack that calculated China owed Germany €149 billion (U.S. $162 billion) for coronavirus damages, triggering an angry response from the Chinese embassy in Berlin.

Bild said the compensation amounts to €1,784 per person if Germany’s GDP drops by 4.2 percent. The Bild article was titled: “What China owes us”.

China’s embassy spokeswoman said the Bild article “stirs up xenophobia and nationalism.”

The International Court of Justice is charged with settling, in accordance with international law, legal disputes between countries.

The Trump administration can use the UN court “to call on” China “to pay back this enormous cost [linked to the coronavirus pandemic], not just to write off the [U.S.] national debt, but to pay the cost around the world for the pain and suffering of people,” Banks said.

If China were to refuse to come before the court, “that would give the United States justification to do a few significant things,” including embarrassing Beijing before the international community for their role in spreading the coronavirus across the world, Banks told Breitbart News.

“First, that would give us the justification to block flights to and from China. Secondly, it would allow us to broadcast Western media into mainland China and Taiwan. And thirdly, it would give just the justification to block China [from getting] into the world trade organizations,” Banks said.

“So, if they don’t come before the court, which we expect that that’s what they would do, then it would give us justification on the world stage to do those actions and embarrass China and draw more attention to their role in spreading this pandemic around the world,” he added.

Banks’ suggestion came after Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican, introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow Americans to sue Beijing in U.S. federal court for “death, injury, and economic harm caused by the Wuhan virus.”

Rep. Banks is engaged in a multi-pronged effort with other lawmakers to hold China accountable for the coronavirus outbreak, the Breitbart report said.

“Sen. [Marsha] Blackburn [Tennessee Republican] and I, many others, are calling on Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo and Attorney General [William] Barr to go to the UN and call for an International Court of Justice,” Banks noted.

The purpose of bringing a case against China is to “reveal to the rest of the world that China’s negligence is the reason that the whole world is suffering like they are today and ultimately hold them accountable.”

“China has blatantly violated many” UN health regulations designed to deal with pandemics, Banks said. “That opens the door for an International Court of Justice.”

Bild editor-in-chief Julian Reichel wrote to Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping: “You, your government and your scientists had to know long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it. Your top experts didn’t respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan. You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace.”

Reichelt added: “You rule by surveillance. You wouldn’t be president without surveillance. You monitor everything, every citizen, but you refuse to monitor the diseased wet markets in your country. You shut down every newspaper and website that is critical of your rule, but not the stalls where bat soup is sold. You are not only monitoring your people, you are endangering them – and with them, the rest of the world.”

Reichelt continued, noting that “surveillance is a denial of freedom. And a nation that is not free, is not creative. A nation that is not innovative, does not invent anything. This is why you have made your country the world champion in intellectual property theft. China enriches itself with the inventions of others, instead of inventing on its own. The reason China does not innovate and invent is that you don’t let the young people in your country think freely. China’s greatest export hit (that nobody wanted to have, but which has nevertheless gone around the world) is coronavirus.”

A spokeswoman for China’s embassy in Germany, Tao Lil, published an open letter to Bild on the embassy’s website on Wednesday, stating: “I followed your reporting on the corona pandemic in general and China’s alleged guilt in particular today. Apart from the fact that we consider it a pretty bad style to blame a country for a pandemic that is affecting the whole world and then to present an explicit account of alleged Chinese debts to Germany, the article ignores some essential facts.”

Tao added: “We note that many countries now struggling with COVID-19 have had time to prepare for the cross-border spread of the pathogen after China reported its outbreak under IHR [World Health Organization] guidelines.”

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