© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Heritage report breaks down precisely how to hold China accountable for the COVID-19 cover-up, $18 trillion in damages
Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Heritage report breaks down precisely how to hold China accountable for the COVID-19 cover-up, $18 trillion in damages

The pandemic killed millions of Americans and cost the country trillions of dollars.

There have a been multiple efforts in recent years to hold the Chinese regime accountable in full or in part for the pandemic. For instance, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) introduced the China Lied, People Died Act last year, which would have prohibited "the availability of Federal funds for programs, projects, or activities in the People's Republic of China until amounts made available for COVID-19 relief in the United States have been reimbursed, and for other purposes."

Like Nehls' bill, most efforts to make Beijing pay for its maleficence have gone sideways or nowhere at all. According to the Heritage Foundation's Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19, not all is hopeless.

The commission, chaired by former Director of National Intelligence and Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe (R), released a report Monday both assessing the cost of the pandemic and outlining ways that China can be made to answer for its role in maximizing the fallout of COVID-19.

The report noted that while other states, organizations, and individuals may have played contributing roles in the pandemic, "China has been in a league uniquely of its own in its active and aggressive opposition to honesty, transparency, and accountability regarding the virus and its spread."

"This behavior by the Chinese government, more than anything else, was the proximal origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, added the report."


The Heritage commission's report underscored both the intentionality and impact of the Chinese regime's cover-up of the spread of COVID-19.

"There were seven weeks during which Chinese officials could have shown good faith and honored their international commitments to try to prevent a domestic epidemic from becoming a global pandemic," said the report. "They consistently chose to do otherwise."

Blaze News previously detailed how Chinese authorities delayed warning the world about the emergency of COVID-19 and silenced those individuals who tried to raise the alarm.

While it appears the virus began spreading by the fall of 2019 at the latest, communist officials waited until Dec. 31, 2019, to alert the World Health Organization, then claimed, "The disease is preventable and controllable."

The Heritage commission's report noted that even when China finally got around to informing the WHO, it "withheld vital information," including the type of virus behind the illness, the actual number of infected persons, and insights into human-to-human transmission.

A Five Eyes intelligence dossier accused the Chinese regime in May 2020 of engaging in an "assault on international transparency" to the "endangerment of other countries," reported the New York Post.

The intelligence dossier indicated that Chinese officials had scrambled to bury evidence of the virus and its origins, "destroying" lab samples, censoring evidence of spread, and denying sample requests from other countries.

Extra to destroying lab evidence, the Heritage commission noted that Chinese authorities barred researchers and scientists, especially those linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, from sharing information about the virus their peers had likely engineered.

While lying to the world about the virus, the Department of Homeland Security intelligence service indicated that "the Chinese Government intentionally concealed the severity of COVID-19 from the international community in early January while it stockpiled medical supplies by both increasing imports and decreasing exports."

Not only did China deceive the world and exploit the deception, it locked down domestic travel while allowing infected Chinese citizens to travel internationally. According to the New York Times, 175,000 people left Wuhan on Jan. 1, 2020, alone. A total of 7 million people left Wuhan that month before travel was restricted, thousands of whom were infected.

The Heritage commission's report noted that there were 1,300 direct flights from Wuhan to 17 cities in the U.S. before the American government restricted travel on Jan. 31, 2021 — a move China and the WHO recommended against.


The commission noted that as of last month, over 1.1 million Americans were estimated to have been slain by the foreign-born virus. COVID-19 claimed the lives of roughly 28 million people worldwide.

Besides filling morgues and leaving empty chairs at dinner tables around the country, the report noted the pandemic drove roughly 97 million people worldwide into poverty; dropped the world's collective GDP by several points; sent unemployment skyrocketing; ejected billions of children out of classrooms, setting them back academically; and adversely impacted vulnerable persons' mental health.

'The Chinese government must be held accountable for its role in obfuscating the truth about the COVID-19 pandemic.'

The report emphasized that in the U.S., the pandemic left behind not only broken hearts and stunted children but also financial burdens.

The Heritage commission estimated that as of December 2023, the total cost of the pandemic in the U.S. had exceeded $18 trillion.

Deaths accounted for over $8.6 trillion of the total cost. Lost income alternatively accounted for $1.82 trillion of the total; chronic conditions for $6.02 trillion; mental health issues for $1.98 trillion; and educational losses for nearly a half-trillion dollars.


The Heritage commission determined that "the Chinese government and its affiliates can be and should be held liable for damages to the United States and its people caused by Chinese negligence and malfeasance related to the COVID-19 pandemic."

To hold China accountable, however, the report noted that lawmakers must revise the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act to remove "a foreign sovereign's immunity in the specific context of the extraordinary circumstances of global pandemics that lead to more than one million excess deaths of American citizens and residents and are caused by a foreign state."

With FSIA amended to no longer stand in the way of holding China liable for damages, the commission indicated there would be several possible causes of action, including negligence; strict liability for abnormally dangerous activities; public nuisance; anti-competitive behavior; fraudulent misrepresentation; and civil Racketeer and Corrupt Organization Act violations.

In addition to targeting China generally, the commission indicated that two Chinese airlines that have subjected themselves to U.S. jurisdiction — China Southern Airlines Company Ltd. and China Eastern Airlines Company Ltd. — could also be fair game, along with Chinese manufacturers of personal protective equipment and the Chinese National Pharmaceutical Group.

The commission made clear, however, that there are other ways to skin a cat.

The commission made multiple recommendations, including:

  • Congress should create a reparations task force to cover claims against China and explore ways to expand U.S. federal court jurisdiction such that Chinese individuals and agencies can be held liable for U.S. civil claims.
  • Congress should pass former Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher's BIOSECURE Act to "begin decoupling U.S. government and commercial supply chains from Chinese state-backed companies."
  • Congress should pass a law requiring an audit of all American funding for biomedical and other such research activities in China, where the working presumption is that all research should be canceled unless "relevant sponsors can demonstrate that their research projects are overwhelmingly in the public interest and entail extremely low risk of harm."
  • The president should impose sanctions on Chinese officials and organizations linked to the cover-up of the virus and its initial spread and get serious about the threat of gain-of-function research.
  • The president should block U.S. outbound investment in the Chinese biotechnology sector.
  • The president should lean on the WHO to hold China accountable for violating Articles 6 and 7 of the International Health Regulations.

A failure by American leaders to act would incentivize the CCP "to persist in its nontransparent, noncooperative, and even hostile behavior," said the report.

Ratcliffe said in a statement, "The Chinese government must be held accountable for its role in obfuscating the truth about the COVID-19 pandemic — a pandemic that caused more than 1 million American deaths and $18 trillion in economic damage in the United States."

"While most of our government and media have focused on legitimate concerns about the origins of the virus, we must also focus on how the [Chinese Communist Party's] lack of transparency and distortion of facts accelerated a global pandemic, regardless of how COVID-19 originated," added Ratcliffe.

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?
Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@HeadlinesInGIFs →