Reports claiming that the novel coronavirus infecting the world was released from a Wuhan lab where bats and coronaviruses were being studied point to the need to hold China and its leader, Xi Jinping responsible for the devastating pandemic, Sen. Tom Cotton, who has been arguing for some time that the virus did not come from a food market, said Thursday.
"Even if we can't establish it conclusively, we still know that they covered up this virus for weeks in December and January when they could have been forthright when they could have tried to arrest its spread in Wuhan," the Arkansas Republican told Fox News' "Outnumbered Overtime" host Harris Faulkner. "Instead, they made the decision, deliberately, to allow this virus to spread around the world. In my opinion, XI Jinping had decided, if China is going to suffer, the rest of the world, especially the United States, is going to suffer. There have to be consequences for those actions."
Cotton said even in January when the reports of the viral pneumonia of unknown origin were coming out of China, there were doubts that it originated in a Wuhan food market.
"China has a history of bad laboratory safety, and the Chinese Communist Party was hysterically spinning in January to spread the story about this food market, which it even now acknowledges is not correct," said Cotton. "It was 'disappearing' scientists that were involved in the story, sending secret police to intimidate others who were trying to blow the whistle on Chinese social media. Even to this day, it continues."
China's foreign ministry insisted Thursday that the World Health Organization has no evidence the coronavirus was created in a Wuhan laboratory.
Cotton has introduced legislation to amend the Foreign Sovereignties Immunity Act, which would allow Americans who have been victimized in any way by the virus to sue China's officials.
"We also need to force China to pay by losing their manufacturing base," he said. "We have outsourced our jobs in factories to China for the last 30 years. That has to stop and it has to stop now."
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