A $20 trillion lawsuit has been filed against Chinese authorities in the US over coronavirus outbreak. American lawyer Larry Klayman and his advocacy group Freedom Watch along with Texas company Buzz Photos have filed the lawsuit against the Chinese government, Chinese army, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Director of Wuhan Institute of Virology Shi Zhengli and Chinese army’s Major General Chen Wei.
The 24-page lawsuit alleges that China created the virus “as a biological weapon in violation of China’s agreements under international treaties,” and that it recklessly allowed “its release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology into the city of Wuhan, China, in Hubei Province.”
The Chinese government failed to prevent the institute’s employees from becoming infected and “carrying it into the surrounding community and proliferation into the United States,” the lawsuit says.
The suit’s first claim is listed as “aiding and abetting the risk of death or serious bodily injuries to United States citizens and members of the class and subclasses.”
Providing material support to terrorists is the second claim. The third claim, of six total, is conspiring to cause injury and death to Americans.
According to CBS News, the suit accuses the Chinese Communist government of “callous and reckless indifference and malicious acts.”
Klayman is continuing with his suit despite the lack empirical evidence the virus was man-made and unleashed on the world.
The Plaintiffs in the case include a company called Buzz Photos, a high school photography in Texas. The suit claims because coronavirus forced the closure of schools and cancellation of sporting events, Buzz Photos was brought to the brink of bankruptcy, literally losing $50,000 over one weekend and being forced to layoff workers.
The plaintiffs have sought $20 trillion, which is a bigger amount than China’s GDP, claiming coronavirus is the result of a biological weapon prepared by the Chinese authorities.
They have accused China of aiding and abetting death, provision of material support to terrorists, conspiracy to cause injury and death of US citizens, negligence, wrongful death, and assault and battery.
They allege the virus had released from the Wuhan Virology Institute. The plaintiffs stated that the COVID-19 virus was “designed” by China to kill mass populations. Biological weapons were outlawed in 1925 and hence such a biological weapon is a terrorist-related weapon of mass destruction, the lawsuit mentioned.
The American group cites multiple media reports that said that there was only one microbiology lab in China that handled advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus — in Wuhan. To cover up, the plaintiffs alleged, China linked statements on coronavirus with national security protocols.
Klayman and the plaintiffs also alleged that Chinese doctors and researchers who spoke out about coronavirus and “raised the alarm to the outside world internationally” have been “silenced”. They added that such was the desperation of Major General Chen to save herself from the virus that she injected herself and six members of her team with a potential vaccine that was yet to be tested.
They also alleged that all the defendants were working together to perpetuate “international terrorism”.
The lawsuit stated that while coronavirus is slow-acting and slow-spreading to be used against a country’s military, “it was designed to be used against the general population of one or more of China’s perceived enemy nations, such as the United States.”
“There is no reason why the American taxpayer should, contrary to the establishment in Washington, D.C., have to pay for the tremendous harm caused by the Chinese government,” Klayman said in a statement. “The Chinese people are a good people, but their government is not and it must be made to pay dearly.”
“Although it appears that the COVID-19 virus was released at an unplanned, unexpected time, it was prepared and stockpiled as a biological weapon to be used against China’s perceived enemies, including by not limited to the people of the United States,” the complaint states.
The American plaintiffs also asked for a jury trial against the Chinese defendants.
In India, a Bihar Court is yet to hear a complaint filed by an Advocate Sudheer Kumar Ojha, alleging that the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong manufactured the Coronavirus virus in a lab in Wuhan pursuant to a conspiracy to become a “super power”.
To substantiate his claim, the complainant had relied upon a book titled ‘The Eyes of Darkness’ which was published in 1981, as per which a deadly virus named Wuhan 400 was manufactured in a lab in Wuhan, only to be used as a biological weapon. The complaint was earlier scheduled to e heard by the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hemant Kumar on March 24.
Legal Opinions on the Suits
But Stephen L. Carter believes that the suits lack legal jurisdiction, saying Nation-states are immune from such lawsuits. Carter, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, professor of law at Yale University and former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice argued that it’s one thing to say that the government of China has behaved irresponsibly, that the country’s officials deserve the condemnation of the world for letting the novel coronavirus escape when early action could have kept it under reasonable control, but legal liability, however, is another matter.
‘’The government of China is protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, and the regime’s undoubted misconduct does not constitute sufficient grounds for a waiver.
‘’Sovereign immunity is not a favor courts do for foreign regimes. It’s an act of reciprocity, a peace treaty resting on a shared understanding that we will not allow our people to sue you if you will not allow your people to sue us.
‘’So broad are the statute’s protections that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a foreign country need not even file an answer to a complaint — what lawyers call entering an appearance — in order for immunity to apply’’, Carter stated.
In like mariner, Hemant Batra, an Advocate and Counsel in the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court; have argued.
According to him, on merits, the law suits merely rely on some press reports and weblinks and there is no credible evidence attached to prove about the COVID-19 being a biological weapon much less the involvement of the Chinese authorities.
‘’Now, the suit has been preferred on the basis of two sets of Laws – National and International laws. Under domestic law, principally it invokes `The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (“JASTA”) and The JASTA being an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Whereas under the international laws, it invokes two treaties – first being “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (“Biological Weapons Convention”) as acceded to and ratified by China in 1984.
‘’As a member of the treaty, China has legally agreed under international law that the manufacture, stockpiling, or deployment of biological weapons are outlawed and illegal; second, is the “Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare,” signed at Geneva in 1925 (“Geneva Weapons Convention”) of which China is a member.
‘’My prima facie legal opinion is that the lawsuit is not only devoid of merits but also lacks jurisdiction.
On merits, it merely relies on some press reports and weblinks and there is no credible evidence attached to the lawsuit to prove about the COVID-19 being a biological weapon much less the involvement of the Chinese authorities. The claim doesn’t have any substantive evidence.
‘’The levels of severe and grave allegations against a prominent nation but do not enclose any significant documentary evidence.
‘’How and why the lawsuit lacks jurisdiction is that Article VI of the Biological Weapons Convention which is basically the successor of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 categorically bars the jurisdiction of national domestic courts. It provides that any State Party to this Convention which finds that any other State Party is acting in breach of obligations under the Convention may lodge a complaint with the Security Council of the United Nations along with all possible evidence confirming its validity and seeking investigation thereof’’.
But the arrest of a Harvard professor fueled conspiracy theories about the new coronavirus outbreak in 2020.
On Jan. 28, 2020, Harvard professor Charles Lieber was arrested and charged with making a materially false statement to federal authorities about receiving funding from China.
On the same day, two Chinese nationals, Yanqing Ye, and Zaosong Zheng, were arrested; of which FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta said in a statement that all three of these cases dealt with “economic espionage” and China’s attempts to steal trade secrets:
Lieber’s arrest was big news in academic circles; but after internet users noticed that the alleged funding was coming from a university in Wuhan, China, the center of an outbreak of a new coronavirus, wild speculation went viral and unfounded connections were drawn between Lieber and a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was a lab-made bioweapon.
Lieber was the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University and the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group. Because this group had received grant funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD), Lieber was required to disclose any funding he received from foreign governments or entities that could lead to a conflict of interest.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges in its complaint that Lieber became a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University in 2011 and that he was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, a government program aimed at recruiting and cultivating high-level scientific talent.
The DOJ says that Lieber was arrested for lying to investigators about his involvement in this program and his affiliations with WUT:
China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security. These talent programs seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information. Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT paid Lieber $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1,000,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT. In return, Lieber was obligated to work for WUT “not less than nine months a year” by “declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and Ph.D. students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of” WUT.
Coronavirus As Human-Made
So far there is no evidence that coronavirus was human-made and several leading researchers have debunked this claim, calling it illogical and noting that the current evidence indicates that the coronavirus mutated naturally.
Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said: “There is no evidence whatsoever of genetic engineering that we can find,” he said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Seattle. “The evidence we have is that the mutations [in the virus] are completely consistent with natural evolution.”
Two more researchers gave statements to The Washington Post:
“There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” said Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University. “The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.”
Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it is “highly unlikely” the general population was exposed to a virus through an accident at a lab.
“We don’t have any evidence for that,” said Narang, a political science professor with a background in chemical engineering.
“It’s a skip in logic to say it’s a bioweapon that the Chinese developed and intentionally deployed, or even unintentionally deployed,” Narang said.
If China Becomes Liable…
However, more researches and investigations on the origin of the coronavirus are still of utmost activities in many countries of the world. If peradventure, it becomes obvious that China advertently created the virus or vicariously liable for the outbreak of the scourge, of course she could be brought to book, in line with several past experience.
After the end of the Second World War (WW11) in 1945, as part of the Paris Peace Treaties agreement in 1947, some countries paid reparation. While Italy was asked to pay $360 million, Finland paid $300 million; and Hungary ($300 million), Romania ($300 million), Bulgaria ($70 million)
Making the defeated party pay a war indemnity is a common practice with a long history. Rome imposed large indemnities on Carthage after the First (Treaty of Lutatius) and Second Punic Wars. After the Franco-Prussian War, according to conditions of Treaty of Frankfurt (May 10, 1871), France was obliged to pay a war indemnity of 5 billion gold francs in 5 years. Germany agreed to pay reparations of 132 billion gold marks to the Triple Entente in the Treaty of Versailles, which were then cancelled in 1932 with Germany only having paid a part of the sum.
Again after World War II, according to the Potsdam conference held between July 17 and August 2, 1945, Germany was to pay the Allies US$23 billion mainly in machinery and manufacturing plants.
With the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki, signed on April 17, 1895, obliged China to pay an indemnity of 200 million silver taels (¥3.61 billion) to Japan; and to open the ports of Shashi, Chongqing, Suzhou and Hangzhou to Japanese trade.