Republican lawmakers made it clear they will not be intimidated by China’s threats that they will “face severe consequences” for negative comments and actions.
The GOP lawmakers dismissed the wagging fingers as U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Sens. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Marsha Blackburn and Rick Scott, among many others, were named in a report by China’s state-run media condemning efforts to push “anti-China” legislation and lawsuits and speak out publicly against its government.
“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 Global Times wrote in an article.
“At least four US Congress members, including Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton, and two entities will be put on China’s sanctions list, analysts said,” the article in the publication, which is a branch of the Communist Party of China’s People’s Daily, added. “China won’t just strike back symbolically, but will impose countermeasures that will make them feel the pain, analysts said.”
The piece was critical of Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt for filing a lawsuit against China last month claiming the country is responsible for the death of residents in the state and the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic which originated in the city of Wuhan.
“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Schmitt had argued. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”
The article fired back with its blatant threats.
“Republicans who have been groundlessly accusing China and inflaming the ‘holding China accountable’ political farce will face severe consequences, sources said, noting that the aftermath will also impact the upcoming November elections, while business and trade between Missouri and China will be further soured,” the publication declared.
Other lawmakers have been introducing legislation allowing U.S. citizens to sue China, a move that was further condemned in the article.
“We must resolutely hit back at those politicians who, for no reason, undermine China-US ties for their own political benefits. For those who promote anti-China legislation, we need to find out what the business ties are between those officials or their families with China,” Yuan Zheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reportedly said. “We can’t just strike back symbolically, but should impose countermeasures that could make them feel the pain.”
Republicans, notably those called out in the piece, did not seem worried by the threats and took to social media to further call out China’s government and its mouthpieces.
Tennessee’s Sen. Blackburn responded in a video message.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) May 15, 2020
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted that he would be right back as he was going to find “a new communist country with gross human rights abuses to do business in.”
“Bonus points if they unleashed a global pandemic on the world,” he added in his sarcastic message.
Brb. Finding a new communist country with gross human rights abuses to do business in. Bonus points if they unleashed a global pandemic on the world. https://t.co/QJU5KKxhTC
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) May 15, 2020
Crenshaw reacted to the Global Times piece directly in a tweet, saying: “So apparently I’m on the Chinese government’s radar now.”
“Good,” he added. “Bring it.”
So apparently I’m on the Chinese government’s radar now.
Bring it. https://t.co/kIC5YIbUqf
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) May 14, 2020
“Beijing can bluster all it wants. I’m not backing down,” Missouri Sen. Hawley tweeted.
Chinese state media singling me out with threats – and threatening Missouri too. Beijing can bluster all it wants. I’m not backing down https://t.co/nQJNC4ijg3
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 15, 2020
Hawley introduced the “Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act” last month allowing Americans to directly file lawsuits against the Communist Party of China. Cotton and Crenshaw introduced similar legislation amending the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to allow U.S. citizens impacted by the coronavirus to sue China in federal court.
“By silencing doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus to spread quickly around the globe,” Cotton said in a statement.
“Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm. It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused,” he added.
Florida’s Sen. Scott spoke to Fox News last week about holding China and the World Health Organization accountable for the pandemic and its global spread.
“We have failed to call out China for who they are — call out these international organizations for who they are, and you see Democrats out there trying to defend the WHO. It’s the craziest thing in the world,” the lawmaker, who joined Hawley on a bill banning federal employees from using TikTok on government devices, said.
“The biggest thing we can do is stop buying [China’s] stuff. They steal our jobs, they steal our technology and now they’ve intentionally caused a problem that’s killing American jobs, killing Americans and Europeans and people all over the world,” he told Fox News.
“So I think the biggest thing we can do is make sure Americans stop buying their products,” he added. “And it’s a twofer because then we help build our own economy up again by bringing manufacturing back here.”
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