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Rep. Christopher H. Smith. (Photo: Chris Smith.)

Smith says he’ll fight for right to sue China on House floor

By David Wildstein, July 16 2021 1:53 pm

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) has vowed to seek a roll call vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives after the Foreign Affairs Committee voted along party lines against his move to allow U.S. citizens to sue the Chinese government for its lack of transparency during the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee rejected Smith’s amendment by a vote of 26-21,  as well as refusing his plan to amend the EAGLE Act to force the Biden administration to work out an alternate plan for the 2022 Olympic games currently scheduled to be held in Beijing in opposition to China’s human rights policies.

Smith has proposed an amendment to the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement (EAGLE) Act that seeks to hold the Chinese Communist Party – and other foreign governments — accountable for misrepresenting Covid data to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Besides damages paid to those individuals who have endured so much pain and loss, my amendment can bring discovery and the opportunity in court to ask probing questions that will hopefully lead to answers and help prevent this type of behavior in the future.”

The Smith amendment would waive the Foreign Immunities Act so that Americans could seek monetary damages for personal injury, death or property loss if China were found to have misrepresented facts about COVID-19.  It mirrored a 2016 law that permitted families of Americans who died in the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.   Congress overrode President Obama’s veto.

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