Posted on Apr 05, 2020
Influential think tank, the London based Henry Jackson Society, has issued a report Coronavirus Compensation? Assessing China’s Potential Culpability and Avenues of Legal Response which suggests that 'lawsuits against China for “patent breaches” of the International Health Regulations over its handling of COVID-19 could run to at least £3.2 trillion from just the nations of the G7'.
The reports authors claim that 'the Chinese government’s early handling of the disease and failure to adequately report information to the WHO breached Articles Six and Seven of the International Health Regulations [IHRs], a Treaty to which China is a signatory and legally obliged to uphold,' stating that it was specifically these breaches that allowed the outbreak to rapidly spread outside Wuhan, its place of origin. The report speculates that it may be 'at least possible that this was a deliberate act of mendacity', suggesting that '...the disease spread far faster than it would otherwise have done and reactions by countries globally were hampered. It is possible that – had accurate information have been provided at an early juncture – the infection would not have left China.'
The authors further accuse the Chinese government of allowing some five million people to leave Wuhan before imposing their lockdown on 23rd January 2020 despite their knowledge of human-to-human transmission, after early cases began to emerge around mid-November. In order to contain a virus, swift action based on accurate information is required, in accordance with IHR regulations.
The practice of the CCP, as was also the case in the Soviet Union, is to conceal bad news at the top, and from the outside world, as happened in 2003, when it obstructed the flow of information around the SARS crisis, and in doing so made the situation worse.
The Chinese Communist Party has learnt no lessons from its failure in the SARS epidemic of 2002-3.Their repeated blunders, lies and disinformation, from the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, have already had far more deadly consequences. This report apportions no blame to the people of China for what has happened. They are innocent victims, like the rest of us. This is the fault of the CCP. How this will translate into practice, time will tell. By computing the cost of damage caused to advanced economies and assembling a series of possible legal processes to which the rules-based order can have recourse, we offer a sense of how the free world might seek recompense for the appalling harm the CCP has done.
The report, which identifies ten possible legal avenues by which the wider world can pursue China for the damages inflicted by its response (or lack of) to the COVID-19 outbreak, concludes that world governments should seek to take legal action against the PRC for the breaches of international law and their consequences.
The full report is available here: https://henryjacksonsociety.or...
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