China owes Britain £351 billion for coronavirus pandemic and we should take them to court, study claims – The Sun

CHINA owes Britain £351billion in coronavirus compensation and the government should pursue it through the international courts, a study has concluded.

An investigation into the crisis has claimed the horrific impacts of coronavirus could have been mitigated if China had just been more honest about the outbreak.

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The report, to be published tomorrow by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a British foreign policy think-tank, claims China directly breached international healthcare treaty responsibilities.

It also argues there are ten legal avenues major nations – such as Britain – could take to pursue damages from Beijing.

Experts calculated the G7, the world’s leading economies, face a bill of £3.2trillion.

And they said this could have been avoided if the Communist Party was more open about coronavirus, reports The Mail on Sunday.

Britain’s slice of the compensation would be used to cover the full costs of the treasury’s economic bailout plan and the hike in NHS spending to manage the crisis.

World governments have been forced to inject huge sums of cash into their economies to keep them going, helping to prop up businesses and support laid off or furloughed workers.

HJS experts concluded the Communist Party “sought to conceal bad news at the top” and to “conceal bad news from the outside world”.

It comes as British ministers are now reportedly not discounting the theory that coronavirus actually came from a leak from a Chinese lab in Wuhan.

And meanwhile, the report has spurred a group of 15 top Tories to call on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “rethink and reset” the United Kingdom’s relationship with China.

In a joint letter, the four former Cabinet ministers and 11 MPs said they are worried about the “damage to the rules-based system caused by China’s non-compliance with international treaties”.

The report is titled “Coronavirus Compensation: Assessing China's potential culpability and avenues of legal response” and argues the Chinese government actively covered-up the coronavirus outbreak.

HJS experts say key decisions in the early days of the outbreak, such as not cancelling flights from London to Wuhan, were directly skewed by misinformation from China.

The report reads: “The truth is that China is responsible for Covid-19 – and if legal claims were brought against Beijing they could amount to trillions of pounds.”

Britain could bring a case against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague against China for breaking sanitary commitments, or it could got to the UN and International Court of Justice, or bring it up with the World Trade Organisation

In their letter to the PM, the 15 Tories, led by former deputy PM Damian Green, write: “Legally binding international healthcare regulations require states to provide full information on all potential pandemics. It appears likely that in its early response to the outbreak, the uphold its obligations.

“This omission allowed the disease to spread throughout the world with extraordinarily serious consequences in terms of global health and the economy.

“The cost to the UK may be, as a Henry Jackson Society report now suggests, over £350 billion.”

China has been openly accused of concealing details of the outbreak in its early stages, such as the death toll and spread of the virus.

British government officials met on January 13 and concluded the risk to the population was “very low”.

This was based on information from China, who claimed there was no significant “human to human transmission” and no evidence of medics getting the disease.
Advice based on Chinese data continued to be used throughout January, and then one day before the end of the month coronavirus reached the UK.

From then the number of infections has skyrocketed, with Britain suffering its deadliest day yesterday as 708 were confirmed dead – raising the total to 4,353.

More than 41,000 people have now been infected, Britain is on total lockdown, and heroic healthcare workers are giving their lives to fight coronavirus.

HJS experts argue this could have been avoided if China had just fessed up and come clean.

Bob Seeley MP said: “Once we are through this crisis, we need to reassess our ability to deal with non-traditional threats to our society, be they economic, political or, in this case, a pandemic.

“We can't go through this shock again without being better prepared.”

The 15 MPs called on the Government to “rethink out wider relationship with China” off the back of the report.

In their letter, they added: “Over time, we have allowed ourselves to grow dependent on China and have failed to take a strategic view of Britain's long-term economic, technical and security needs.”

China is now facing pressure to come clean over the outbreak, with even US President Donald Trump speculating their figures may not be accurate.

It emerged today British security services are reportedly no longer ruling out the possibility that coronavirus leaked from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan.

Reportedly while intelligence still suggests that the virus originated from animals, the leak hypothesis is now no longer “discounted”.

A member of the emergency Cobra committee has been reported as saying the theory is now seen as a “credible” alternative.

Chinese embassy officials in London have said speculation about a cover-up disregards “tremendous efforts and huge sacrifice of China and its people”.

In a statement, an embassy spokesman added: “There has been no scientific or medical conclusion yet on the origin of Covid-19, as relevant tracing work is still underway.

“The WHO has made repeated statements that what the world is experiencing now is a global phenomenon, the source is undetermined, the focus should be on containment and any stigmatizing language referring to certain places must be avoided.”

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China is believed to have tried to downplay the initial outbreak as the virus took hold in the city of Wuhan.

A doctor who first warned about the virus was threatened by police, and then last month Chinese officials suggested the US military may have been responsible for coronavirus.

China now claims it has weathered the virus storm, and yesterday mourned victims with a three minute silence as it positions itself as a world leader amid the pandemic.

The death toll for the nation is just over 3,300, and the number of cases is around 82,000.

While once China was leading the figures, the US, Spain, Italy, France and Germany have all surged ahead.

The global infection count is now over 1.2million, with America facing over 300,000 cases.

However, it has been speculated the China's death toll is much higher – with suggestions Wuhan alone could be as many as 42,000.

US congressman Michael McCaul accused China of the “one of the worst cover-ups in human history” last month while speaking on Fox News.

He accused the Communist Party of a “systematic whitewash” and called for an international investigation to “hold the Chinese government to account”.

Mr McCaul, a Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “Now we have a global pandemic that originated out of Wuhan.

“They allowed millions of people to come to Wuhan to celebrate their Spring festival.

“Five million of them leading the area and traveling domestically and abroad – they went into laboratories and shut them down – destroyed laboratory samples and they detained eight of the doctors trying to speak the truth about what really happened in Wuhan.”

Half the world’s population are now in lockdown as governments attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Only 18 nations in the world are yet to confirm an infection – including North Korea, Yemen and a number of nations in the South Pacifc.

And as the UK bathes in sunshine this weekend sparking fears of the virus spreading, The Queen is due to address the nation tonight at 8pm.

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