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Suing China – Reasons Why Not Pt 3

As the coronavirus COVID-19 continues to cause chaos across the world, many questions arise. For example, if I have been personally affected by the virus can I sue China? The reasoning is that it is personal injury. This article will look at the reasons why to sue china.  And subsequent ones will look at reports regarding issues relating to suing China for COVID-19.

Many articles stated that it is not possible to sue China for COVID-19 due to various reasons. Some of these reasons include the following:

Legal liability – Sovereign immunity

The Chinese government is protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. “Sovereign immunity refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent.” This is an act or peace treaty on a shared understanding between countries. Whereby Country A will not allow its people to sue Country B, as long as Country B does not allow its people to sue Country A. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) was passed in 1976. It passed as a result of closely looking at claims of immunity involving commercial disputes. The Act is intended “to protect foreign sovereigns from the burdens of litigation including the cost and aggravation of discovery.” The FSIA protections are so broad that a country does not even need to file an answer to a complaint.

Complaints on the Outbreak in the US

The current lawsuit filed against the government of China alleges China failed to respond to the virus quickly enough. And therefore, the government of China is to blame for the COVID-19 outbreak. However, one article stated that China is the only country worldwide that has brought the pandemic under control. The response failure in the United States is the fault of the US government. The article further suggests that potential plaintiffs should sue the American administration rather than the Chinese government.

No support from domestic laws

The exceptions cited in the Florida lawsuit in FSIA do not apply to the alleged act of the Chinese government. “What Chinese authorities have done so far relevant to COVID-19 are the acts of government rather than acts of commercial nature.” Secondly, under subsection 1605(a) of FSIA, the exception applies only where both tort action and damage happen in the US. The allegations put the action to have happened in China.

Therefore, no matter how strongly we may feel about China and its liability for COVID-19, it cannot be sued.



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