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GOP proposes sanctions on China for obstructing COVID investigation

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and more than a dozen other GOP lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would sanction Beijing for its “continued obstruction of an investigation into the origins of COVID.”

Rubio said in a statement:

For two years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) blocked all efforts to uncover the true origins of COVID-19. We know that the virus originated in China, however, the CCP’s attempts to obscure the truth have led to countless unnecessary deaths and suffering around the world. It is clear that Beijing will only respond to concerted pressure from the United States and the international community. My bill will force the CCP to sit down.

The bill would build on the 2021 COVID-19 law previously proposed by Rubio by adding new sanctions to Chinese officials “who were involved in covering up the initial COVID-19 outbreak in China from the international community. … ”According to his office.

The legislation would allow sanctions 90 days after its enactment if the CCP does not allow a “credible and comprehensive international investigation” into the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan laboratories that “have engaged in risky research involving bat coronaviruses “.

If the bill passes, the president would be empowered to sanction the leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and its affiliated institutes and laboratories, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The president could also suspend federal research in all academic fields “for studies involving CAS” and ban research on gain-of-function viruses between US-based institutions that receive federal funding and individuals and institutions. of the People’s Republic of China.

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who joined the bill, said:

The Chinese Communist Party’s deception about the origins of COVID came at the expense of American lives. The United States should in no way allow or encourage the dangerous and deceptive practices of these Chinese state laboratories, and this legislation will expand our existing work by formally imposing long-awaited sanctions against the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

According to the text of the bill, the sanctions include the freezing of assets, the blocking of visas, the revocation of current visas and the imposition of sanctions on violators.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s inexcusable obstacles to legitimate scientific investigations into the coronavirus deserve a firm response from the United States and other world leaders,” the senator said. said Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS). “The sanctions outlined in this legislation could finally spur the CCP to help us understand the origins of a health pandemic that began in China and continues to unleash worldwide today. ”


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