Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) responded Thursday to a letter the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sent to his office demanding the withdrawal of his COVID origins bill.
“The Chinese government wrote to me and demanded I withdraw my Covid origins bill,” Hawley said on Twitter. “Not a chance.”
The bill, titled the Covid Origins Act of 2023 (pdf), was unanimously passed in the United States Senate last week for the second time. If it becomes law, it would require the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to any links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A companion bill in the House passed unanimously on March 9, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk.
The legislation had previously been passed in May 2021 under the title the Covid Origins Act of 2021.
In March 2020, Hawley was the first member of Congress to initiate an investigation into the CCP’s cover-up of the spread of coronavirus and, in April 2020, introduced legislation to permit American citizens to sue the Chinese regime for damages.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the Chinese Communist Party’s lies, deceit, and incompetence caused COVID-19 to transform from a local disease outbreak into a global pandemic,” Hawley said in 2020. “We need an international investigation to learn the full extent of the damage the CCP has inflicted on the world and then we need to empower Americans and other victims around the world to recover damages.”
The CCP’s letter, addressed to Hawley’s Chief of Staff Christopher Weihs, from Counsellor Li Xiang with the Chinese Embassy said China opposes and condemns the claims and actions written in the Republican senator’s bill.
“First of all, the origins-tracing is a complex matter of science. This study should be and can only be conducted jointly by scientists around the world,” the letter said.
The embassy official said the U.S. claim that China is not transparent is an “excuse to politicize and stigmatize China.”
“China has been following the principle of openness, transparency, and responsibility by promptly introducing and sharing the genetic sequence of the virus,” the official claimed.
The Counsellor accused the U.S. of political manipulation, alleging the traceability report by the U.S. intelligence agency as an attempt to “presume guilt on China” and “shift the blame from its own failure,” concluding the U.S. should investigate its own laboratories.
“If the U.S. is truly ‘transparent and responsible,’ it should release and test early case data,” the letter said. “If the U.S. insists on the laboratory leak story, shouldn’t it invite WHO experts to Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina to investigate? Instead of investigating and publicizing the situation in its own laboratories, the U.S. is only throwing mud at others.”
Hawley’s response to China’s discontent with Covid Origins Act of 2023 confirms the Missouri senator’s assurance of the bill.
“When China is this upset about a proposal, you know you’re on the right track,” Hawley told Fox news on March 8.
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