Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced the state intends to sue the Chinese government over the coronavirus pandemic and the death and economic loss it caused, the Clarion Ledger reported Wednesday.
The lawsuit intends to hold China “accountable for the malicious and dangerous acts that caused death, health injuries, and serious economic loss from the COVID-19 crisis,” a news release from Fitch’s office said according to the Clarion Ledger.
“Too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up,” Fitch said in a statement. “They must not be allowed to act with impunity. Mississippians deserve justice and I will seek that in court.”
Mississippi’s decision follows that of Missouri, which became the first state to sue the Chinese government Tuesday. However, China is protected by sovereign immunity, some law experts argue, and most judges would find that they don’t have jurisdiction over a matter between a U.S. state and a sovereign nation. (RELATED: ‘An Appalling Campaign Of Deceit’: Missouri Becomes First State To File Lawsuit Against China)
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says there are workarounds, and that he’s counting the Chinese Communist Party as a non-state actor, according to NPR.
Fitch is asking Mississippi’s Congressional delegation to support legislation that would make an exception in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which would facilitate the state’s lawsuit.
The legislation is sponsored by Republicans from Arkansas and Texas and is titled the “Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act of 2020.” The bill seeks to create a “narrow exception” specific to China and the pandemic for the FSIA, according to Newsweek.
“By silencing journalists, doctors, whistleblowers, and others, China exposed millions to the Coronavirus and kept the world from preparing, leading to higher death tolls and more dangerous public health impacts. They must be held to account for the damage they have done,” Fitch’s letter to the delegation said.