China protests US Senate bill threatening Beijing with sanctions over COVID-19

Beijing [China], May 14 (ANI): China on Wednesday strongly protested a US lawmakers' bill aimed at imposing sanctions against Beijing over the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes in the wake of legislation introduced in Congress authorizing US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on China if it fails to cooperate and provide a full accounting of the events leading up to the COVID-19 outbreak, Sputnik reported.

"This act sponsored by several US lawmakers shows no respect for facts. By pushing for investigations based on the presumption of guilt, it is meant to shirk responsibility for the US fumbling response to China. This is highly immoral. We are firmly opposed to it," Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said.

US senators said in a statement on Tuesday said:"Without certification, the president would be authorized to impose a range of sanctions such as asset freezes, travel bans, visa revocations, restricting United States financial institutions from making loans or underwriting to Chinese businesses and prohibiting Chinese firms from being listed on American stock exchange."

Responding to US legislators, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, "Since the outbreak began, China has been acting in an open, transparent and responsible way. We have maintained close communication and cooperation with WHO and supported its global efforts against COVID-19 with concrete actions. All these have been recognized by the international community."

Over the issue of operations of wet markets in the country, Zhao said "China has passed legislation banning all illegal hunting, trading, transportation and consumption of wild animals. There are no so-called 'wildlife wet markets' in China. What you can find are farmers' markets and live poultry and seafood markets."

On Tuesday, Republican senators had said the sanctions on Beijing requires the US President to provide a certification to Congress within 60 days that China has shared a full and complete accounting to any COVID-19-related investigation led by the United States.

US senators Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mike Braun, Rick Scott, Steve Daines, Todd Young, Jim Inhofe and Roger Wicker said they had introduced in the Congress legislation.

Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, both the US and China have been at loggerheads and tensions between the two have escalated.

Last week, China had released a detailed document responding to 24 allegations made by the US on several issues pertaining to the novel coronavirus. (ANI)