Carmine Sabia| Opinion| President Donald Trump’s administration is prepared to take action against China for the coronavirus crisis.
The administration has accused China of hoarding PPE and attempting to “corner the world market” of personal protective equipment, The New York Post reported.
“In criminal law, compare this to the levels that we have for murder,” Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said.
“People are dying. When you have intentional, cold-blooded premeditated action like you have with China, this would be considered first-degree murder,” she said.
The administration is considering working “through the United Nations” or filing a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, the Post reported.
Executives from 3M and Honeywell told US officials that the Chinese government in January began blocking exports of N95 respirators, booties, gloves and other supplies produced by their factories in China, according to a senior White House official.
China paid the manufacturers their standard wholesale rates, but prohibited the vital items from being sold to anyone else, the official said.
Around the same time that China cracked down on PPE exports, official data posted online shows that it imported 2.46 billion pieces of “epidemic prevention and control materials” between Jan. 24 and Feb. 29, the White House official said.
The gear, valued at nearly $1.2 billion, included more than 2 billion masks and more than 25 million “protective clothing” items that came from countries in the European Union, as well as Australia, Brazil and Cambodia, the official said.
“Data from China’s own customs agency points to an attempt to corner the world market in PPE like gloves, goggles, and masks through massive increased purchases – even as China, the world’s largest PPE manufacturer, was restricting exports,” an administration official said.
The president used the Defense Production Act to force 3M to make N95 respirator masks for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
US-China Economic and Security Review Commission founding member Michael Wessell confirmed that China managed to keep American hospitals “starved of PPE to fight this crisis.”
This would be tantamount to an act of war, to keep Americans from having the equipment they need intentionally and causing death.
“We understand that China has engaged in policies to try and not only develop its own capabilities, but to do so at expense of producers around the world,” he said.
“At a time when demand was rising to deal with the crisis, China was marshaling all of the products for its own use.”
He said that “some of China’s actions are probably illegal, but to bring cases when you’re in the middle of the crisis does little good for the patients who are in the hospital on ventilators — and might not have been there had they had access to PPE.”
Former President George W. Bush’s former trade and senior diplomacy adviser Christian Whiton called it “political warfare.”
“It looks like a coordinated effort between the Chinese government and industry where they used to be nothing but exporters of this stuff but now they turned around and they’re importing it while banning all exports,” he said.
“What is most interesting to me, when we get through this crisis I think there’s rage, not just concern, but rage in Congress about China and from the American people that China is culpable one way or the other,” he said.
China caused this global pandemic, lied about it and caused tens of thousands of deaths around the world and now they want to hoard to PPE.
This is an act of war and China need to be made to pay for it.
Carmine Sabia Jr. is the Editor-At-Large for sabiareport.com and a syndicated columnist for The Federalist Papers, Illicit Info and others covering political news and current events.