- Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, is calling for an international investigation into the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus.
- He also said the international community should quantify the damages from the coronavirus and force Beijing “to pay for the lives and livelihoods that it has destroyed.”
- The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has upended the global economy and killed thousands.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Sen. Josh Hawley is calling for an international investigation into the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus, and he wants Beijing to pay for the damages the virus has inflicted around the world.
Hawley introduced a resolution in the Senate last Tuesday asking the United States and other countries to investigate how the Chinese government’s actions could have contributed to the spread of the coronavirus.
“We need to know exactly what the Party knew, when it knew it, and how the Party’s decisions to try and hide the virus allowed it to spread and kept the United States and other nations from protecting ourselves sooner,” the Missouri Republican wrote in a Fox News op-ed published Monday.
Beijing has been criticized for its actions in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province in central China. Government officials reportedly cracked down on people sharing information about the virus, and experts have said that a freer flow of information about the virus could have helped slow its spread.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
“If Beijing handled this crisis as transparently as it says it did, then it should have nothing to hide,” Hawley said in the op-ed. “If it refuses to cooperate, then the world will know that it does have something to hide — namely, the fact that it is responsible for this pandemic.”
Hawley also called for countries around the world to quantify the damages caused by the coronavirus, which has upended the global economy and killed thousands. In the US, unemployment has reached record levels and the government is set to spend over $2 trillion to help curb the economic fallout from the virus.
While a payment or admission of guilt is unlikely from the Chinese Communist Party, Hawley’s request is an example of the growing frustration and outrage over the virus and missed opportunities to mitigate it earlier.
“The next step to holding Beijing accountable is to force it to pay for the lives and livelihoods that it has destroyed,” Hawley said. He called on the global community to “seek justice together by quantifying the harm caused by the Party’s mishandling of this disease and designing a way to secure payment from Beijing to compensate for that harm.”