“China targets GOP hawks, US firms, states over lawsuits.”
That was the headline in The Global Times, a daily tabloid newspaper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, last Thursday.
“China is extremely dissatisfied with the abuse of litigation by the US against China over the COVID-19 epidemic, and is considering punitive countermeasures against US individuals, entities and state officials…,” the article began, going on to say, “China won’t just strike back symbolically, but will impose countermeasures that will make them feel the pain, analysts said.”
At the center of story are the recent lawsuits filed against the Communist nation in the wake of the coronavirus, one of which the State of Mississippi is party to by way of Attorney General Lynn Fitch. Fitch’s lawsuit followed Missouri’s action and targeted Beijing, seeking to hold them accountable for suppressing information on the outbreak.
According to The Global Times, Chinese officials and experts called Fitch’s lawsuit “ridiculous” and “absurd.”
Then, last week, Fitch joined other Attorneys General around the country to urge Congress to open an active investigation into China’s role in the spread of COVID-19.
“Republicans who have been groundlessly accusing China and inflaming the ‘holding China accountable’ political farce will face severe consequences, sources said,” The Global Times wrote, “noting that the aftermath will also impact the upcoming November elections.”
“While the Chinese government makes adjustments to business relations between China and states like Missouri or Mississippi, local economies would likely be under pressure, or special interests of certain officials might be affected,” Diao Daming, a US studies expert at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told The Global Times.
In a tweet Sunday night, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves took issue with China’s “state run media,” adding, “If they say we’re doing something wrong, we must be doing something right.”
China’s state-run media just put out an attack piece on our efforts to re-open the state of Mississippi. I wonder why they would want us to keep our economy shut down? If they say we’re doing something wrong, we must be doing something right. God bless Mississippi and the USA!
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) May 18, 2020
Mississippi’s U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith are original cosponsors of the COVID-19 Accountability Act, which would authorize the President to impose sanctions on China if it hinders or evades any coronavirus pandemic investigation led by the United States, its allies, or United Nations affiliates.
The Global Times wrote that China could impose countermeasures on the relevant states represented by anti-China lawmakers, including measures targeting trade and exchanges.
“Those officials should be held responsible for what they said. However, we need to strike a balance between punishing them and not diminishing them all,” Yuan Zheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told The Global Times.
A copy of the State of Mississippi vs. the People’s Republic of China is below.