Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Mobilizing To Confront China, Including Investigations, Sanctions And ‘Seizure Of Chinese Government Assets’

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Several Senate Republicans are mobilizing plans to confront China for its delay, cover up and suppression of critical information in the lead up to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Daily Caller has learned. Options on the table even include “authorizing U.S. courts to seize Chinese government assets” once an investigation “determine[s] the damages China owes the US — and the world.”

Chinese leader Xi Jinping personally asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to delay the release of information regarding its coronavirus outbreak, German intelligence reported. Xi met with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Jan. 21 to request that he withhold information and delay the declaration of a global pandemic, according to German magazine Der Spiegel’s report, published May 8.

“We now know that leaders at the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party actively hid the coronavirus outbreak from the world, silencing those who tried to sound the alarm, prevent a global pandemic, and save lives,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the Daily Caller. “Next week, I will introduce the Ending Chinese Medical Censorship and Cover Ups Act of 2020, just one of the legislative steps I am taking to hold the Chinese officials involved in medical censorship directly accountable.”

The bill Cruz mentioned would impose targeted and heavy sanctions on those who were involved in the delay of the critical information and would also:

  • “Prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of the People’s Republic of China, including prohibitions, limitations, or penalties related to the use of social media;
  • Penalize citizens of the People’s Republic of China for the public dissemination of accurate epidemiological information, including information related to emerging diseases or pathogens; or
  • Limit access to print, broadcast, digital, or social media.”

Montana Sen. Steve Daines agrees with Cruz.

“The Chinese communist government must be held accountable for their reckless cover up of the coronavirus outbreak,” Daines told the Daily Caller. “I have been working on a number of bills to hold their feet to the fire and I will continue fighting to ensure we put maximum pressure on China.” (RELATED: Sen. Steve Daines Introduces Bill To Extend President Trump’s 60-Day Immigration Ban)

Daines has also consistently criticized China, sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in early April calling for an investigation into China’s role in the coronavirus outbreak.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) speaks during a news conference about proposed reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley told the Daily Caller that “the United States should lead an international investigation to determine exactly how the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] enabled the coronavirus’ transformation from a local outbreak into a global pandemic. And the investigation should determine the damages China owes the US — and the world.”

Hawley then mentioned that America should “use every measure available to hold Beijing accountable.”

“That includes empowering American victims to sue the Chinese government and authorizing U.S. courts to seize Chinese government assets. And it means using whatever other means necessary to make sure the CCP pays its victims for the pain and hardship they’ve suffered as a result of its lies and deceit,” Hawley continued. (RELATED: ‘We Are Too Reliant On China’: Cotton, Hawley Call On US To Regain Independence From Communist Regime)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) questions Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz during a Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs hearing at the US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Florida Sen. Rick Scott told the Daily Caller that “the United States is battling a New Cold War with Communist China, and the Chinese Communist Party has decided to use the Coronavirus to their advantage.”

“The scale of devastation caused by Communist China will one day be realized, but we must all take action NOW to hold them responsible and financially liable for the damage they’ve caused,” Scott continued. “I’m working with my colleagues on legislation to hold China accountable, and I encourage every American to stand up and put American interests first by buying American-made products when possible.”

Florida Sen. Rick Scott speaks during a business session with state governors hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump in the State Dining Room at the White House February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio shared his concerns with the Daily Caller, agreeing with the other senators that China covered up critical information in regards to the coronavirus. Rubio also said one way to hold China accountable is to move the U.S. supply chains in order to depend less on China.

“The Chinese Communist Party covered up the outbreak of the virus, forcefully silenced medical professionals like the late Dr. Li Wenliang, lied about the number of infections, and withheld information about the virus from the global community,” Rubio said. “The one way to hold China accountable is to do what we should have been doing long ago – moving our supply chains and means of production in order to reduce our dependence on China.” (RELATED: Senate Republicans Starting To Raise Concerns About America’s Massive Coronavirus Spending)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks ahead of President Donald Trump announcing policy changes he is making toward Cuba at the Manuel Artime Theater in the Little Havana neighborhood on June 16, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Growing evidence that China failed to act as a responsible member of the global community strengthens the case for sanctions and other penalties,” Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith told the Daily Caller. “I think it also helps those of us who believe President Trump and Congress should act to hold China and the WHO accountable for acts or inactions that led to the COVID-19 pandemic.” (RELATED: China Asked The WHO To Help Cover Up Coronavirus, German Intelligence Concludes)

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) exits a Senate Republican policy luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building, May 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House of Representatives announced a task force Thursday to look into China’s alleged cover-up and mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Michael McCaul Explains His New Role As Chairman Of ‘China Task Force’)

“Our mission and our goal is several-fold,” Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul told the Daily Caller. “One, to get to the bottom of what happened, we need to know about the origins of COVID-19, how this happened so we can stop it from ever happening again. We will be having high level classified briefings to get to the truth about what happened and hold China and the Chinese Communist Party accountable for what they did. We do know it came out of Wuhan.”

The Senate is back in session and is working with the White House on passing more legislation in an attempt to help combat the coronavirus and American workers struggling across the country.