The state of Missouri is suing China for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak in an unprecedented lawsuit.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) is suing three government ministries, two local governments, two laboratories and the Chinese Communist Party in U.S. District Court. He alleges they all “engaged in misrepresentations, concealment, and retaliation to conceal the gravity and seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak from the rest of the world.”

“There’s been untold suffering across the globe, including here in Missouri, and we want to hold them accountable for that,” Schmitt said.

As a foreign nation, China is protected by sovereign immunity.

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Last week, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) introduced legislation that would strip China of its sovereign immunity, though the bill is not expected to pass.

“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 a statement about the legislation. “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 unleashed this pandemic. They must be held accountable to their victims.”

Missouri case manages to move forward, the US State Department would likely be expected to weigh in.

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