CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC : Why China may not pay compensation to Nigeria , other countries

By John Okeke

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world, with more than three and half million confirmed cases in 187 countries. More than 260,000 people have lost their lives.

However, across the globe a backlash is building against China for the spread of the virus which is crippling economic activities around the world . Countries after countries counting losses and calling China for compensation .

Australia called for an inquiry into the origin of the virus. Germany and Britain are hesitating anew about inviting in the Chinese tech giant Huawei. President Trump has blamed China for the contagion and is seeking to punish it.

Recently, it was reported a league of Nigerian lawyers allegedly claiming $200 billion in damages against China over Coronavirus .Some governments want to sue Beijing for damages and reparations.

Meanwhile , China is pushing back against the growing chorus of voices around the world calling for the country to pay compensation for the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, said at a news briefing that politicians in the United States are “lying through their teeth”.

The spokesman’s comments came one day after President Trump suggested that the United States would seek “substantial” compensation for Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We advise American politicians to reflect on their own problems and try their best to control the epidemic as soon as possible, instead of continuing to play tricks to deflect blame,” Mr. Geng said .

China is also defending itself in Australia. China’s ambassador to Australia warned that the government’s call for an independent international inquiry into the origins of the pandemic could lead to a Chinese consumer boycott of Australian products and services.

On the other hand , China has condemned a legal action allegedly instituted by a league of Nigerian lawyers claiming $200 billion in damages against the country.

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian in a statement on this said “attacking and discrediting other countries from other countries will not save the time and lives lost.”

“At this critical moment, we urge that some Nigerian legal practitioners will do more things to enhance mutual trust and help epidemic prevention and control in both countries, rather than dancing to the tune of a certain country to hype up the situation.”

The Chinese Ambassador, Zhou Pingjian said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been open, transparent and responsible and has taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures to contain its spread.

Zhou Pingjian said that “China has made tremendous sacrifices and accumulated valuable experiences and made significant contributions to the global responses against coronavirus.”

“The virus is a common enemy to all mankind and may strike anytime, anywhere. Like other countries, China is also a victim, not a perpetrator and even less an accomplice of COVID-19.” “In the face of major public health crisis and infectious disease, the international community should stand in solidarity and work together not resort to mutual accusation or demand retribution and accountability.”

“Currently, China is standing together with Nigeria in the global fight against COVID-19. Our people are joining hands to overcome the current difficulties,” Zhou Pingjian added.

It was reported that the U.S. side once said openly that it greatly appreciates China’s efforts and transparency, and the data China shared are helpful for the U.S. efforts against the epidemic. However, Washington just had a U-turn, and some U.S. politicians thought they could escape their due responsibilities by doing so.

According to the best practices for naming new human infectious diseases jointly made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations, disease names shall not include countries or regions. However, the U.S. politicians blatantly violated the rules and called the novel coronavirus “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus.” While the international society is generally lauding China’s contribution made at huge sacrifice, they are forming cliques for blackmailing.

What they have done is an affront to international law and justice. The terms about sovereign immunity in the international law stipulate that the practices and treasure of a country are not bound to the legislation, jurisdiction or administration of other countries. More importantly, the sudden outbreak of an epidemic is a global public health incidence, which is considered force majeure in legal context. China is the first to report COVID-19 infection, but the origin of the virus needs further science-based studies.

Facts indicate that China’s containment efforts do not have any causality with the outbreak in the U.S. Even former Counselor on International Law Chimène Keitner in the U.S. Department of State couldn’t tolerate the practices of some U.S. politicians. She said any professionals with actual working experience about sovereign immunity would find that the U.S. courts have no jurisdiction as long as they take a look at the titles of the lawsuits.

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