News that the state of Missouri is suing China and a number of its state agencies for damage caused by the coronavirus has been met with derision online, with many citing other potentially litigious historical precedents.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed suit on Tuesday against the Communist Party of China, as well as governments at local and provincial level, along with a number of smaller government agencies and research institutes upon which he laid the blame for “causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable.”
While his concerns have been shared by some governments around the world, as well as by many online eager to stick the wider collective failures which exacerbated the crisis on a singular, convenient scapegoat, some capricious contrarians online have stowed their pitchforks for the time being, recalling lessons (or lack thereof) from history.
Some opted to remind the Missouri AG of his state’s own history of inflicting misery upon thousands of Native Americans and the tens of thousands of slaves brought over from Africa.
Others cited the appalling nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US in World War II as worthy of a lawsuit.
However, in this instance, Japan waived the right to sue for reparations under the terms of the Treaty of San Francisco, though there was a failed attempt by a group of five survivors of the bombings to sue the US over the bombings.
In a more recent example worthy of examination, one Twitter user highlighted the H1N1 flu which initially broke out in the US in 2009 and ultimately killed over half a million people worldwide.
For its part, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called the lawsuit “ridiculous,” stating that it lacked “legal or factual basis.” It added that the measures against the coronavirus taken by the Chinese government “are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US courts.”
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