In a rare bit of bipartisanship, the Democratically controlled House of Representatives has condemned China for its mishandling of the coronavirus.
A bipartisan resolution has been introduced by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., that condemns the Chinese government over its handling of the outbreak, painting a stark picture of lies and mismanagement contributing to the pandemic that has infected nearly 390,000 people worldwide and killed more than 16,700.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Banks led the drive to round up co-sponsors for the resolution Monday which so far has seen Reps. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., Austin Scott, R-Ga., Trent Kelly, R-Miss., Brian Babin, R-Texas, Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Jason Smith, R-Mo., sign on.
This resolution comes as tensions between the U.S. and China are running high over the Chinese government’s high-powered propaganda campaign seeking to paint itself as the global coronavirus savior while several U.S. officials and politicians, including President Trump, have taken to calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” in reference to its origins in Wuhan, a city in China.
The resolution argues that the Chinese government “made multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which include the Chinese government’s intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus, a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities, internal censorship of doctors and journalists and malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.”
Specifically, the resolution suggests that doctors in China were aware of a novel coronavirus strain as far back as mid-December, and warned the government about the dangers of same. However, according to the resolution, Chinese authorities muzzled those doctors, including on Jan. 3 forcing one to “sign a letter confessing that he had made ‘false comments’ that ‘severely disturbed the social order.'”
The largely Republican group of representatives also condemns China for its treatment of the Uighur Muslims, a religious minority from which U.S. government officials believe China has rounded up between 800,000 and 2 million people, placing them in “reeducation camps” that function largely as forced labor camps.
Finally, the resolution lays out the Chinese government’s propaganda campaign to paper over its responsibility for the rapid spread of the coronavirus, specifically mentioning its lack of cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; a foreign ministry spokesman who “claimed that COVID-19 originated in the United States and that the United States army brought the virus to Wuhan to wage biological warfare” on China; and China’s move to expel journalists with the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times.
It also mentions a study from the University of Southampton which claims “if China had taken action 3 weeks earlier, the spread of coronavirus would be reduced by 95 percent globally.”
It is unclear when or if the resolution will receive a vote on the House floor.