While the world is scrambling to find their footings amidst a pandemic which has shaken the foundations of several countries, the clashes between two competitors in the international sphere have once again made headlines.
In the wake of the recent COVID-19 which originated from the Hubei province in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the United States of America has filed a $20 trillion lawsuit against the Chinese government, the Chinese army, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Director of Wuhan Institute of Virology Shi Zhengli and Chinese army’s Major General Chen Wei, alleging them for manufacturing the COVID-19 as a biological weapon.
This lawsuit was filed by American lawyer Larry Klayman and his advocacy group Freedom Watch along with Texas company Buzz Photos.
The US has accused Chinese authorities of “aiding and abetting death, provision of material support to terrorism, conspiracy to cause injury and death of US citizens, negligence, wrongful death, and assault and battery.”
Earlier this week, a video of US President Trump went viral where he mentioned COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus”. This belief of US authorities solidified into a full-blown $20 trillion claim which is said to be greater than the GDP of China. While many conspiracy theorists have linked the recent arrests of Harvard professor Charles Leiber and others arrested to the manufacturing of the infamous Corona Virus, it seems as though the US government has taken notice of these coincidences as well.
Larry Klayman’s team has accused China of releasing the virus from Wuhan Virology Institute, reportedly the only MicroBiology lab with a BSL level 4, indicating dealings with extremely hazardous substances, in the entire country.
Noting that China is a party to the Geneva Convention, which banned the use of biological weapons and warfare, such a lawsuit holds great international importance and consequences.
The US which has reported 68,440 cases according to the CDC as of 26 March 2020, is seen at the forefront of this battle of holding the culprits responsible for their actions.
With the constant US-China Trade War noise in the background, the agitations of both sides have always been highlighted in the international forum. However, such a huge step may be seen to showcase more than just the heroic side of the US.
While the lawsuit threatens to destroy the Chinese economy for years to come, it is important to note that such a lawsuit also holds China internationally responsible for the violation of the Geneva Convention and would lead to global condemnation.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has consistently stated that the US government “started the argument” and that people are “ angered” by the constant stigmatization of this virus.
Further, the Chinese Government has retaliated to these claims stating that this was a biological weapon released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and linked this allegation to the Military Games which were held in October 2019. The US was accused of sending CIA agents disguised as military athletes almost 170 in number, which was more than the number of athletes from other countries. Further to add more evidence to this suspicion, none of the US military athletes won any medals. This claim also threatens to hold the US accountable for conspiracy and international violation of the Geneva Convention.
Between this back and forth of pointing fingers, the only allegation which seems to hold some truth and not just conspiracy is that the US government has accused the Chinese authorities of providing misinformation and hiding data which led to the inability to contain the virus in Wuhan itself. The Chinese Government has been stated to provide false numbers concerning the number of cases and the extent of the virus, proving negligence on its part.
Whether there any truth in either of these accusations or whether this virus was truly a natural occurrence in the Chinese local wet market may never be determined, this lawsuit will definitely add another aspect to the on-going tensions between the two competitors.
However, this constant blame game between the two powers of the globe is not a new occurrence. The world has always seen the battle for power between the sole superpower and the threatening force.
Yet, whether such a battle is appropriate in times when the world is suffering from a deadly pandemic that seems impossible to contain leading to several lockdowns across countries is justified remains an open question.
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International justice seems to be willing to hold China responsible for negligence in dealing with hazardous substances and even in dealing with biological warfare.
Though other countries have not yet spoken out about this lawsuit, it is not unlikely to say that this will gather international support in penalizing the accused party.
Most believe that the case may take years to be resolved, it is safe to say that this lawsuit may play into the hands of the US government and turn the shifting power dynamics in contemporary world politics back to unipolar world order by crushing the competition.