A longtime senator spoke out against legislation that would let American citizens sue the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), claiming China’s regime is “growing into a respectable nation” and that the bill would open the United States up for to lawsuits.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has close ties with China, made the comments during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that included discussion of a bill introduced by six Republican lawmakers.
The legislation would provide Americans with the “legal tools necessary to sue the Chinese government in federal court for creating and worsening the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), one of the sponsors, said in a statement.
Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, told colleagues that Californians “hold China as a potential trading partner, as a country that has pulled tens of millions of people out of poverty in a short period of time, and as a country growing into a respectable nation among other nations.”
“And I deeply believe that. I’ve been to China a number of times. I’ve studied the issues,” she added.
Feinstein cited a professor who told the committee behind closed doors that the United States has the most to lose by permitting civil lawsuits against China.
“She explained that the more expansive the exceptions, the more they could also apply to U.S. conduct, the worse off we will be,” Feinstein said.
“In short, if we eliminate sovereign immunity for countries engaging in reckless behavior that contributed to the spread of COVID-19, and other countries, including China, may very well do the same to us,” she added later.
A Feinstein spokesman didn’t respond to an inquiry about what the senator is doing to respond to the CCP’s human rights abuses, including holding over one million in concentration camps in Xinjiang, or the party’s failure to contain the CCP virus.
Feinstein during the hearing said she favors forming relationships “that can make the changes internationally.”
The committee later advanced the bill to the full Senate. Republicans hold majorities on each committee because the party holds the Senate with a 53-47 majority, including two Independents who nearly always caucus with Democrats.
“China’s Communist Party must face consequences for concealing and now profiting off of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the committee, said in a statement.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee concluded last month that the CCP covered up the spread of the CCP virus, with assistance from the World Health Organization.
That coverup “played a significant role in turning what could have been a local epidemic into a global pandemic,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in a statement.
Several states filed suits against the Chinese regime over the virus.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is seeking damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act while Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is seeking relief on public nuisance, abnormally dangerous activities, and breach of duty allegations.