‘Must not be allowed to act with impunity’: Mississippi joins Missouri in suing Chinese government over spread of coronavirus

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The state of Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch. PHOTO/COURTESY

The state of Mississippi will sue China over its handling of the coronavirus, Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced Wednesday.

“Too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up,” Fitch said in a statement, according to the Clarion-Ledger. “They must not be allowed to act with impunity. Mississippians deserve justice, and I will seek that in court.”

The lawsuit seeks to ensure that China is held “accountable for the malicious and dangerous acts that caused death, health injuries, and serious economic loss from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Earlier this week, Missouri was the first state in the United States to indicate it would seek to punish China for the pandemic.

“In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real — thousands have been infected, and many have died. Families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table,” said state Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

The lawsuits come as a growing number of congressional Republicans demand that China be held responsible for the thousands of deaths in the U.S. and for how the American economy has taken a hit from the virus.

Of the more than 830,000 cases of the coronavirus reported in the U.S., more than 5,100 are in Mississippi, and 6,100 are in Missouri.

Fitch wrote a letter to Mississippi’s congressional delegation this week, asking for a lifting of the restrictions set by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to allow her lawsuit to proceed.

“By silencing journalists, doctors, whistle blowers, and others, China exposed millions to the coronavirus and kept the world from preparing, leading to higher death tolls and more dangerous public health impacts,” she wrote. “They must be held to account for the damage they have done.”