FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao
Countries around the world are now seeking billions of dollars in compensation from China for the deaths of their countrymen due to Covid-19 that originated from Wuhan, China in late 2019.
In his recent speech at the North Carolina Republican Convention, former U.S. President Donald Trump called on China to pay reparations to the U.S. for coronavirus-related damages.
“All nations should work together to present China a bill for a minimum of $10 trillion to compensate for the damage,” Trump said, adding that the figure was lower than it should be. “As a first step, all countries should collectively cancel any debt they owe to China as a down payment on reparations,” he said.
Trump, who still believed that he was robbed in the 2000 election, is right. The U.S. recorded the most number of deaths due to coronavirus at almost 600 million, followed by Brazil with 473 million, India with 349 million, Mexico with 228 million, Peru with 186 million and the United Kingdom with 127 million.
In the Philippines, the latest Department of Health bulletin showed that we have some 1.3 million cases and 22,000 deaths.
A few weeks ago, the Biden administration started an investigation to find out whether the Covid-19 virus was released accidentally or deliberately from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The official version by the Chinese government is that the virus was transmitted to a Chinese woman who purchases a bat for viand in a wet market in Wuhan and the virus spread at fantastic rate throughout the world.
Last year, Missouri’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government over its handling of the outbreak, saying China’s response led to devastating economic losses for the state.
Missouri’s lawsuit was filed in a federal court by state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, alleging negligence on China’s part. The complaint said Missouri and its residents have lost possibly tens of billions of dollars, and it seeks cash compensation.
Other lawsuits have been filed in U.S. courts on behalf of business owners, including a class suit in Florida seeking reparations from the Chinese government for coronavirus-related damages on behalf of thousands of people. According to the suit, had there been accurate information provided at an early stage, the infection would not have left China.
A British conservative think tank, the Henry Jackson Society, said that China is bound by international law to report crucial public health information in a timely, accurate and detailed manner. However, it “failed in its obligations to do this” through December and January in the early stages of the outbreak, the report said.
“The Chinese government’s negligence has cost the G7 at least £3.2 trillion ($4 trillion) — and the wider world a presently incalculable sum,” the think tank said, referring to the Group of Seven countries
Will PH follow suit?
Under the Duterte administration it is unthinkable that the Philippines will follow in filing reparation claims against China because of its appeasement policy towards Beijing. But some brilliant lawyers of the so-called nationalist groups could, on their own, file cases against China on behalf of some 20,00 Filipinos who have died from the China plague.
But we have not heard from them. Are they afraid to confront a country whose ideology they have so admired and want to emulate here?