US Law Firm Sues China’s Regime for CCP Virus Coverup: Berman Law Group Spokesperson

By Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Senior Editor
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."
April 7, 2020Updated: April 8, 2020

Should the Chinese regime be compelled to pay legal damages for mishandling and deliberately covering up the CCP virus, or coronavirus, outbreak?

In practice, how could the Chinese regime actually be held accountable? What precedents are there? What could be used as leverage?

In this episode, we sit down with Jeremy Alters, the Chief Strategist and (non-attorney) spokesperson of Berman Law Group, which is filing a class-action lawsuit against the People’s Republic of China, for how it handled the CCP virus, or Covid 19 outbreak.

Alters previously launched and won a major class action lawsuit against Chinese manufacturers of defective drywall.

In his legal career, Alters has settled cases and achieved verdicts totaling over $4.5 billion dollars.

This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

Jan Jekielek: Jeremy Altars, so great to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Jeremy Alters: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Mr. Jekielek: So Jeremy, you are the non-attorney spokesperson for a very important lawsuit that we have been reporting at the Epoch Times. Basically taking China or the Chinese Communist Party to task for Covid-19, or the CCP virus as we are calling it now, that started in China. Before we dive into the whole lawsuit, I find it fascinating that you are a non-attorney on this case, because you have been an attorney throughout your life, and you have been on some incredible lawsuits, including taking China to task in the past. I am wondering if you could tell us a little bit about that.

Mr. Alters: I was an attorney for about 20 years, and handled some of the largest cases in the United States, including going after China and going after the US banks that had resequenced overdrafts of people and settled those cases for billions of dollars. The China case was very interesting because it involved a German and Chinese corporation and then separately, a Chinese nationalized corporation which we took to task to get them to pay for a defective drywall that they had shipped to our shores. It was a long process, but it was highly successful, and it lays some precedent for a case like this.

Mr. Jekielek: There is always this question of the fact that they are a state actor. So they will say that they have immunity. Let’s say you get the settlement. How can you actually get the money? In this case with the China drywall around 2009. You actually got money, and I find that remarkable. Could you talk a bit about that?

Mr. Alters: Sure. We collected about a billion dollars from the German-Chinese Corporation. Recently, the Chinese nationalized corporation, Taishan Gypsum, settled for 248 million dollars very recently last year. We did that by getting verdicts against them and bringing them to the table. They were forced to [comply] by threats from plaintiff, lawyers, and judges about the cargo that they were bringing to our shores and their business interests in New Orleans and other places. The lawyers here at the Berman Law Group and I [believe that] if China is going to do business and make a large portion of their GDP in the United States, but harm our citizens, why shouldn’t we hold them accountable for what they have done? Why should they be able to profit and not have to pay for the liability and the damage they have caused? This was the theory in the Chinese drywall case, and has been the theory in other cases that we have been involved in. This is the theory to a much greater extent now, because we are talking about a worldwide pandemic that has fallen on our people. The 320 million, or so, people in the United States are now directly affected by their bad acts. We cannot let it stand.

Mr. Jekielek: Tell me a little bit about the lawsuit. I especially want to dive into the big question of sovereign immunity. Firstly, tell me what allows there to be a lawsuit. For example, are we talking criminal or commercial? How does this work?

Mr. Alters: The firm’s position [upholds] the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which was established in 1976. The theory is that you are not supposed to be able to sue foreign countries in general. Why is that the theory?I’m not sure, and I don’t particularly like it. The reality is that in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, there are exceptions that allow you to sue countries like China. Those exceptions include non-commercial tort activity, business exception activity, and terrorism exceptions. This was established in 1976, and many things have changed since then, including courts around the United States expanding those exceptions.

Under the firm’s theory of the case, China has unleashed a pandemic, dropping a viral bomb on our world, country, and people. That bomb that they dropped could have been contained. They could have prevented it, and at least 95% of [destruction] in the United States could have been prevented if China did their job as a sovereign nation. So now we fall under these exceptions. A couple of the expansions on the exceptions are “did they violate their own laws?” We say yes, because the wet markets that are open in Wuhan were supposed to be closed down years ago. To be very clear, in our lawsuit, we don’t blame the people of China. We blame the government of China and the heads of the Communist Party of China and the virology lab in China and the different entities, but we don’t blame the people. We think they are victims, just like we are, of the same propaganda and the same nonsense that the CCP spew. Under these exceptions, there is a business activity exception.

Firstly, China broke their own laws by allowing the wet markets to continue. Those wet markets, whether intentional or unintentional, are the source of the virus. That is where it could have been contained. The market should not be open. It is a violation of their own law. Why did [China] let them stay open? [The Chinese government] lets them stay open, because they make a billion dollars from it. They make a billion dollars a year from the exotic trade of animals that pass through those markets. They act like they know nothing about it, but thats not true. Under that exception, meaning they broke their own law, we believe we can pursue this case.

Secondly, they failed to warn us of an inherent danger to our country. I don’t think there is anybody in the United States that would disagree. They failed to properly warn us of what was going on. The Ninth Circuit Court, which is based in California, has said that if there is a failure to warn of an inherent danger, that is an exception on top of the exceptions that exist. It is an enhancement of the exception that allows us to pursue this case. The case allowed it to go forward, and we think here it will allow it to go forward. The final [exception] is the most egregious one. If it is an egregious act against the precepts of humanity, the courts in the United States have said that then [the case] is allowed to go forward. I do not know of any more egregious act we have ever seen, except possibly 9/11, where a country knew of a bad act that was taking place, allowed it to come to the United States, and allowed it to permeate our society and our people. It has caused a massive economic meltdown, and people are dying. This is not just numbers. It seems that on TV programs these days, every person is just a number. You see 2000, 3000 [people dead from the coronavirus]. These are human beings. These are peoples’ businesses. These are people’s livelihoods. 10 million [Americans] have lost their jobs in two weeks, and it is all because China did not contain a virus they knew about and did not tell us about it when they could have. We think that is an egregious act against the precepts of humanity, and under those enhancements to the exceptions, this will go forward and be successful.

Mr. Jekielek: Tell me a little bit about the details of the case, such as where you believe China was unlawful, and how you have a compelling case.

Mr. Alters: So as early as December for certain, if not November or earlier, China knew that at least one person in Wuhan had been diagnosed with a strange coronavirus they called Covid-19. We know that as early as December 10, someone was diagnosed, and as early as December 16, the government knew about it. If that is true, and we have been living in this now for about two and a half weeks, could you imagine what a month and a half would have done for us in terms of preparation and prevention? They did not give it to us, so under our theory, they had knowledge of a known danger, and they failed to tell us they had knowledge of something that could egregiously affect humanity. I do not think it’s neglect. I think it was intentional. I think China has been and continues to be an opportunistic country. This is an economic boom for them in the future. Having the United States be down helps China come up. It is not unintentional. That is the premise from where we are, but there is more to it.

We know that this virus originated either in that lab or in those wet markets. When that happened, all China had to do is what they always do to people in China, which is to lock it down, close it up, contain the virus, and keep it in one place. Don’t let it spread, and don’t let 5 million people leave your province and have some of them come to the United States. We think that is evidence that will play very strongly into this becoming part of the exceptions to the FSIA rule, but it takes it even one step further. They did what they always do, which is to silence the people who are telling the truth. And that is against the egregious precepts of humanity. How do you have eight doctors on WeChat talking about this novel virus? (We call it a novel because that’s what it says in the reports. I don’t know if it was novel there or not), but when they have the information about it, their doctor is treating it, and there are other doctors seeing it. Why is it that they are not allowed to talk about the truth on WeChat? Why do people disappear when they start talking about the truth? Why is someone missing right now after an Australian news program? We could go down the list. This is the real question for the law firm. How many times are we going to let them get away with it? This isn’t the first time they have done things like this. It’s certainly the worst that they have ever done, but not the first. I think it is enough already. I think they need to pay for what they’ve done, and it needs to stop. If we can be less reliant on China, I applaud it.

Mr. Jekielek: Taiwan is deeply skeptical of any information coming out of China, and are doing social media monitoring around this situation. They discovered the situation in China, and reported it to the World Health Organization at the end of December, but was pushed back because they technically, from the WHO perspective, do not exist [as an independent country].

Mr. Alters: It is astonishing to me that a country, an entity—someone knew of the truth. Someone reported to the World Health Organization. And they were blown off and ignored, because they were from Taiwan. Had that information been properly distributed at the genome sequence, we would not be losing six or seven or 10,000 lives, we would not be losing 10 million jobs. There was plenty known by China. Taiwan tried to point it out and we’re and we’re brushed off. … How many lives could we have saved and protected? But it didn’t matter to China. They controlled everything. And they control what’s happening now as well. I mean, we are in the position where we are at their mercy. And it drives me crazy.

…They knew 5 million people were leaving the province. Why aren’t there giant cargo planes from China full of all of the essential PPE that the doctors, first responders, nurses, health care providers need? Why? Not like they can’t nationalize the factories and make it, which we all know they’ve done and sold to other countries. Why don’t they have 400 cargo planes back and forth with masks and shields and gowns? Why aren’t they helping us solve the problem they created? Because it’s beneficial for them not to. And that’s where we’re at. Not only did they cause it, not only did they hide it, now, they’re not trying to help fix it. I know they’ve sent some stuff and we’ve been able to buy some stuff. I mean, 467 million in goods was sold to two nations that are not the United States last week. Why don’t we have all of these goods? Not our government’s fault. It’s China’s fault.

Mr. Jekielek: We also have reports from Australia that talk about how the Chinese Communist Party, through proxy companies, was actually buying up all this type of protective equipment out of Australia, while it knew that this pandemic was happening and spreading.

Mr. Alters: Of course, you can ask the question, were they buying it up because they had many more deaths and many more people sick in China, than they lead on? Or were they buying it up to capitalize on the market, and monetize the opportunity? I think it probably in the end was a combination of both.

Mr. Jekielek: It is astounding when you put it that way. So do you not believe the statistics coming out of China?

Mr. Alters: I don’t. Not at all. And I’m not a conspiratorial person. … China is a confined, populated place. And there are people on top of people there. And if we just look at New York City, as an example of the closest thing to people on top of people, we have 60,000 diagnoses there, which probably means three times that because there’s no testing yet for everybody. Maybe it’s more than that. How does Wuhan, and China only have 80,000 total diagnoses when the United States is eclipsing 250,000, in a spread-out, wide, partially unpopulated part of our country? How is that happening? And if you just look in New York versus the Hubei province, there are more people there and they have less diagnosis or an equivalent amount? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. So no, I don’t think the numbers that they’ve reported are accurate. And again, I think it’s intentional.

And I think that the political world and the physicians that are dealing with this—Dr. Fauci and Vice President Pence—came out and said the CCP withheld information and their numbers are not correct. As Berman Law Group pushes this case forward and as we gather evidence, we will see more and more of the misinformation that China has put out there.

Mr. Jekielek: Well, we’ve been documenting at the Epoch Times all of these lines of evidence. There’s a preponderance of evidence that the numbers just simply aren’t realistic. And that there’s a second wave coming in China because of what they’ve done.

Mr. Alters: I think that that is true. And I’ve done a lot of reading about it and looked at a lot of evidence. And if we are looking at, God forbid, 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. How is it possible that in a province and even a country with what a billion people, the numbers are so staggeringly lower than what we have? Because it originated there. Yes, they locked down the city. But they waited until after the Lunar New Year dinner where they had about 120,000 people. So we’ve seen how it can spread. We’ve seen how it mutates. There’s no way that the numbers they put out are accurate.

Mr. Jekielek: I appreciated you making the point earlier that you’re not stepping out against the Chinese people here. You’re putting the responsibility squarely on the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party that controls it. At Epoch Times, we call it the CCP virus for this reason, to create that clear differentiation.

Mr. Alters: It makes a lot of sense. We, as a law firm, try to restrict naming the virus because it’s a legal proceeding. So we don’t want to name the virus. But I’ve heard President Trump call it the China virus. I’ve heard the CCP virus. I’ve read it. I’ve seen it. There is no question that the leaders of China and the CCP knew about the virus long before we did. There is no question that they intentionally did not tell us for their own economic benefit. So as far as we’re concerned, you can label it however you like. We’re just very careful about it, but we know where it originated and we know who’s responsible.

Mr. Jekielek: Jeremy, there have been multiple lawsuits begun on this issue. I think yours in Florida is the first one to be filed. There’s another one in Texas that we’re aware of. And I know there’s others. Can you tell me a bit more about what the implications of that are for this case?

Mr. Alters: There’s a lawsuit in Texas. There’s a lawsuit in Nevada and another in California that we’re aware of, and there very well may be other ones filed that we’re unaware of as of yet, and I expect more to be filed. I’m sure you saw the legislation put forth today by the congressman from Texas about lifting the foreign sovereign immunities act. So as that propels itself forward, I won’t be surprised to see more people copy what we’ve done. Sometimes in cases, and we’ve had experience with this in the past, you’ll represent a class or subclasses of people.

So here, for example, our firm will represent restaurants, individuals who have passed away, individuals who have been diagnosed, individuals who have been exposed directly to it, but not been able to get a test, large businesses, small businesses, different types like that. Those will all be classes. So we could have 20 to 30 subclasses in our class action. When there are multiple lawsuits, multiple class actions filed around the country, the court, in its wisdom, may decide that it has more power to consolidate it into one courthouse in front of one judge. Multiple lawsuits being consolidated so that there’s not a ton of overlap in discovery often happens in these types of cases. So, if that were to happen, we would ask for it to be consulted in Miami, with all of the cases from around the country brought to Miami. And we’ve done that against 41 US banks in the past when class actions were filed in Miami, we filed and then someone filed in Philadelphia, someone in Texas, California. And that was all brought in multidistrict litigation by the panel to Miami. That happened in the Chinese drywall case, which we spoke about a little earlier. It was all brought to New Orleans, even though there were cases all over the southeastern United States. And that very well may happen here.

Mr. Jekielek: Jeremy, you just mentioned Chinese drywall and this very interesting way in which the judge was able to compel the Chinese Communist Party to actually deliver money by threatening to prevent port calls. How would the court be able to force the Chinese regime to pay?

Mr. Alters: It’s happened before, and I’ve been a part of cases like that in the past. There was a case against Libya some time ago. I believe it was a Pan-Am airplane where 103 people died, and Libya wanted to continue to participate, or start to participate again, in our economy. In order to do that they had to settle their debts with society. A part of that is you have to pay your judgments. So if there are outstanding judgments, they have to be paid. They ended up paying $2.7 billion in that case. We had a case when I was practicing, that was against Cuba, another communist country. And it was actually against Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and the [communist] party—not against the people because it wasn’t their fault. And we got a $1,179,000,000 verdict, which ended up going up to $2.8 billion. And we were able to collect part of that verdict. [It was done] under that same FSIA exception for terror. You’ll know that Under President Obama, relations with Cuba were being normalized. Well, in order to fully normalize relations, you must settle your debts to society. And so that’s what happened. In that case, they had to start paying their judgments. And I think there were 11 or 12. And they’re still being paid today. We know that relations have kind of neutralized at the moment, and that’s not exactly going forward. But when they want to do it again and when we want to do it, that will have to be satisfied.

Now, the entire judgment does not always get satisfied, but a large portion of it can. And in the Chinese drywall case, it was a business issue. China made drywall that was defective. It was harmful to people in homes, and they did not prevent it from coming over here. So after we settled with Knopf, which was the German corporation that produced drywall in China, the remaining group which already had a verdict against it was Taishan Gypsum, a nationalized Chinese Corporation supported by the country and the party, and the threats by the judge and the plaintiffs lawyers, because of their breach of the commercial exception, or the commercial law in their own country and in our country, we were able to bring them to bear to get them to pay a substantial amount of money. That was a multi district litigation with thousands of plaintiffs.

This will be a multi district litigation potentially, or a multi district of classes or a class action, it can be any of them, where millions of people will be represented. And that is, I can’t stress enough how crucial it is for people to get behind this. Because this is the remedy—monetary compensation is the only remedy we can seek. And it’s the only way to get back some of what we’ve lost. It cannot bring back lives. Why would we not figure out an exception to the FSIA? Or get rid of it altogether and pursue this against China? There’s only one answer, and that is politics. And if politics decided to get in the way, then people won’t be compensated for what happened. We don’t want to see that happen. That is why the branches of government are separate. We want the politicians to get behind it. And I think that momentum started today with the bill that was put forth. And it has to happen. No political solution is going to solve this problem with China. China has had multiple political solutions under governments that I supported and we haven’t gotten anywhere with it. This stuff keeps happening.

And this is absolutely got to stop. It’s enough. We’ve had enough. Our people have had enough. They’re sitting in their homes, everything’s being done by Skype like we’re doing right now. We can’t even relate as human beings, which is what we are, as Americans, best at. … But when this is all over, and when we pass through this horrible stage, who is going to solve the problem that was created? Who was going to bring the economy back the way it was, who’s going to pay for what was lost? In the Berman law group’s opinion, and in my own personal opinion, China has to pay for what they’ve done. Do we have any indication that they will do that? Not without a whole lot of pressure and a whole lot of risks to their GDP. And to me affecting their bottom line, will affect them responding to this lawsuit.

Mr. Jekielek: Quickly tell us about FSAI. What is it?

Mr. Alters: Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. It is the act which prevents you from suing foreign nations unless they violate certain rules and exceptions. And under those exceptions, you can sue them and that is how the Berman Law Group is doing it.

Mr. Jekielek: Basically, the judge could say China, you don’t get access to the US economy until you deliver according to the verdict.

Mr. Alters: I would love for a judge to say that. I think that the judge would be hard pressed to say you don’t get access to the American economy. But I think there are ways to hamper their access to the American economy, which would cost them hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars. And one of the things that can be done, is that if they don’t appear, if they don’t respond, we can pursue this case without them being a defendant present. If the judge allows us to go forward, we can try the case without China present, get the judgment or the verdict, as as you’ve said, and then we can go start collecting on Chinese assets in the United States. China has bank accounts. China has buildings, China has, I can’t imagine what they have in the United States, but they own a lot of stuff in a lot of places. We can execute on those assets all over the United States. And that’s how a lot of these other cases started getting paid. They started executing on bank accounts and assets. And if it’s done properly, and it’s approved by the judge, it can be done. And that will start to put some pain into China’s pocketbook. And if we can put a little pain into China’s pocketbook, it becomes a conundrum for China. They have an issue, they’ve got to now deal with it. If we allow them to continue to put their heads in the sand, they’re never going to step up to the plate.

Mr. Jekielek: The Chinese Communist Party’s position is that they’ve done a fantastic job in containing this, and that the world should thank them.

Mr. Alters: It’s not even funny. I’m laughing because it’s such an asinine statement. They have unleashed hell on our planet. They have specifically unleashed hell on the United States and let’s not forget Italy, in Europe and all the places for them to say that just proves exactly what I said, which is unless we force them to open their eyes and see what they’ve done, they’re never going to do the right thing. They have intentionally withheld information and has caused harm to the world that has never been seen. That’s the fact. No one can dispute that. You can dispute what day it happened on, you can dispute how it happened, you can dispute whether it was the wet markets or the level four lab in Wuhan. But it in fact happened. And in fact, was a result of their—at a minimum, silence; and at maximum, intentional reckless behavior.

Mr. Jekielek: Jeremy, you mentioned that you’re looking to get people to get behind this lawsuit. How can common folks actually contribute if they were interested?

Mr. Alters: You know, it’s one of those things that requires momentum. It requires a buy-in. It requires everyone or most everyone to believe that it’s the right thing to do. Since we started this lawsuit on March 12, we have gotten thousands of contacts. And I say contacts because it’s phone calls, emails, website inquiries of different forms, that social media that have people that want to be part of this, want to be part of the movement. The Berman Law Group and Lucas Compton together started, where you can immediately join in the lawsuit. The response has been remarkable.

I think it’s important to allow the country to get through this. There are always cycles to terrible things. First, there’s “what happened?” Then there’s dealing with the tragedies that are occurring, and then hopefully, soon as we move out of it, there will be “Wait a second. Why the hell did this happen?” And then there’s “Who’s responsible and how do we make them pay? Some of the emails we get are “I have lost my job, I can’t pay for food. My father has COVID-19, I’ve lost my mother already, and my sister’s on a respirator and they have no money, they have no ability to survive the next day…” Thank God for Americans and what they do to band together.

But it’s a very difficult time because 93% of the country is under shelter in place orders. So even with banding together, we don’t have the things that we normally would have in a hurricane or natural disaster where people are able to come from all over and help. We have first responders, doctors, and nurses dying because we can’t get the proper equipment or because the virus is so bad. …We had a nurse here in Miami die yesterday. It’s horrible. So we would love for everybody to go to and look at what we’re doing and just get involved. It doesn’t require anything but a desire to be part of it. And that’s for the regular guy on the street all the way up to, you know, a massive Corporation like Coca Cola or the airlines. This applies to everybody.

Mr. Jekielek: Are you suggesting that you’re looking for more plaintiffs? Tell me a little bit about the different groups of plaintiffs that you have already engaged.

Mr. Alters: The suit itself can always use more plaintiffs. There is no harm to having millions of plaintiffs so we can say to a sitting federal judge, “Judge, we have millions of people that have contacted us.” There is power in numbers. This can be a movement of the people using their courthouse to collect for what they’ve been wronged by. And so yes, we would love everyone’s participation. And when I say everyone, I mean it. We would love our lawyers, would love to walk into court and say, ‘Judge, we currently have contracts with five and a half million Americans.” I mean, the power behind that [would be huge]. And we know everyone won’t do it [because of their] political views or [they’re] just going through a lot of stuff right now, [so] they’re not thinking about this. But [for] everyone they can, let’s put some power behind it.

As for the types of individuals and classes we have: We have dozens of people that have been diagnosed with COVID-19. We have families of people who have died from it. We have individuals who are currently diagnosed with it in the hospital. We have people on respirators, we have people who have come out of it, thank god, and are in the recovery stages. We have people where it’s passed, but now they’ve given it to their family members. We have parents of children. We have elderly … We have small businesses—hundreds of them. We have individuals who have lost their job. We have individuals who have been furloughed, laid off. We have businesses that have had to layoff 1900 people. Restaurants. As you can imagine, restaurants are taking one of the biggest hits in the economy. We just got one yesterday that literally has nearly 2,000 employees and is down to four because of this. And this is a great guy, a great human being who’s built his business from the ground up. It’s horrible.

What we don’t have yet and what we would really like are the big businesses. The ones that deal with China on a regular basis. We don’t have them yet. We would like to. I think it would be very powerful. But are they willing to take a stand for their employees and for their people? It’ll be interesting to see. And I do think that over time, that will happen. But that’s not something that happens at this stage. Nor is it something we push for at this stage because we’re just hoping that they can employ people and let them keep their jobs and hope that they can help us sustain the economy. One more very important one, which I should never fail to mention. We have doctors who have gotten it. We have nurses who have gotten it. We have healthcare providers who have gotten it. We have EMT, EMS personnel who have gotten it. So we have the first responders and the healthcare providers who have gotten it. And those people are running to the problem. They are sprinting, to help from all over to help and the fact that they are not protected properly, because China makes all the things we need to protect them is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

Mr. Jekielek: Are you in support of reshoring these kinds of manufacturing?

Mr. Alters: It’s interesting to talk about politics for a moment. I would never have thought this before. This is not my political theory. My personal political way was to, you know, get along with everybody and allow things if they’re done right, to go forward. I don’t know how we continue this way. This is not safe. It is not a proper way to receive our medical equipment, or receive our medication. I think there’s a statistic out there that 90% of the equipment or 90% of our pharmaceuticals are made there. I don’t know if that number is exactly correct. But I know it’s a large number. How can we continue if they’re going to keep doing this? It’s never been this bad. So I understand how it has continued until now. But at some point, don’t we as people, as a country, have to put our foot down and say “no more”? … I should pose the question in general, how can we not, when this is over, [seek reparations]? [Let’s say] we’ve lost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. How many people are going to lose their homes? How many people are going to not be able to function when this is over? I heard someone on the news yesterday saying you don’t realize the implications of how far this goes. So yes, maybe there’s rent abatement, in New York City, for example. Maybe there’s mortgage abatement. But what about their credit? What happens afterwards when they try to recover, or they try to get a job and they can’t afford to even get a car to get to work? And we go back to the same question: Why? All because China wanted to protect their economic interests, and not let the world know what was coming and not doing their job.

Mr. Jekielek: How much in damages are you seeking from the Chinese Communist Party?

Mr. Alters: When we filed the lawsuit, March 12. We thought that the damage would be somewhere in the hundreds of billions of dollars range. We didn’t see a $2.2 trillion stimulus package coming. We didn’t see 10 million people losing their job in two weeks. The number is astronomical. And it’s probably a number that China—even though they’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and even though they control much of the manufacturing for the world—it’s probably a number they can’t even afford. So the question is, what’s fair at the end of the day, and how can we create a solution that allows us to go forward and feel like we’ve gotten compensated for what’s happened? It’s going to be in the trillions of dollars. There’s no way around it. That doesn’t mean they’ll pay that. But that is what we will be seeking.

Mr. Jekielek: Could they say that they can’t pay because they are bankrupt?

Mr. Alters: That would be quite a sign of weakness on China’s part. And they don’t strike me as a government or as a party that wants to show any weakness at any point. So I would find it very quizzical. I’m sure their GDP is hurting at the moment, but in general, they benefit from the export to countries all over the world that have been harmed. At this point being the world’s superpower that they are, and certainly they are being the world’s leader in exporting, they certainly can afford to pay for what they’ve done. I don’t see the Communist Party of China, or the leaders of China, allowing weakness to show through. I see them and their egos showing that they are the strongest country in the world and trying to take advantage of this opportunity to prop up their economy and prop up their standing in the world. So I don’t see them essentially filing for bankruptcy for lack of a better term.

Mr. Jekielek: Yeah. I think that would be a very unlikely scenario. Jeremy, we’re going to wrap up in a moment. Any final thoughts?

Mr. Alters: I would just say that there are and have been political solutions to problems in the past that have been effective. There have been agreed-upon solutions that have been effective in international disputes. There has never been, at least as far as I know, in the last hundred years, anything like this. And when there is a catastrophe of such epic proportion caused by one entity—meaning the People’s Republic of China and the CCP and the associated entities that are part of it (and not the Chinese people)—how do we not hold them to task? How do we not bring them to bear through the power we have in ceasing business operations with? I understand the political fallout of how much of our economy relies on China delivering goods to us. I understand that. But isn’t it time that we start to change that? And isn’t it time that we say to China, “you must pay for what you’ve done to our country?” “You made a decision not to contain a virus that could affect our country, you made a decision to silence the people who were talking about it, you made a decision not to tell us about it until it was too late. It’s time that you pay for what you’ve done. If you want to participate with our people using your goods, making money for your GDP in our country, the way is to pay.” And I hope everybody understands this. The only way to get compensated for this as Americans is through our court system. And we are very blessed in the United States to have this type of court system.

They don’t have it in China. But we are allowed to hold bad actors responsible and make them pay for what they’ve done. And China has notoriously been a bad actor. Please join us in trying to demand China pay for what happens. It is a critical movement. And many, many critical movements over time have occurred through our court system. Most things that have had great outcomes for our country occurred as a result of judges and courts that weren’t willing to shy away from a challenge like this.

And we believe we have the case that, well, pursue this to the end, whatever that end may be, to help the people of our country. And thank you very much for giving me the time to talk about this. I really appreciate it.

Mr. Jekielek: Jeremy Alters, such a pleasure to have you on.

Mr. Alters: Thank you very much.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. 
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Jan Jekielek
Senior Editor
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."