CHINA THREATENED to sanction U.S. lawmakers who have been particularly critical of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented move that comes as Beijing pushes back on international condemnation about its handling of the virus’ spread.

Legislation introduced by a series of China hawks on Capitol Hill, along with lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Mississippi, amount to an “abuse of litigation by the U.S. against China over the COVID-19 epidemic” and has prompted Chinese officials to mull “punitive measures” including sanctions, according to a report published in China’s Global Post Thursday morning.

The post does not expressly say who China would sanction and how, but does reference “four GOP lawmakers” and “two U.S. entities.” It cites pieces of legislation introduced by Republicans Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey that would allow Americans to sue China. It also references lawsuits brought by the Republican attorneys general of Missouri, Eric Schmitt, and Mississippi, Lynn Fitch, seeking damages for deaths caused by the virus.

GOP Sen. Tom Cotton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt are among those whom China is considering punitive measures to make them feel painful.  

Schmitt’s office says it is undeterred by China’s threats.
Tom Cotton responded “China may try to sanction me, but that won’t change the fact that China is a pariah state that should be boycotted by the rest of the world.  If China thinks this will make me back down from holding them accountable for unleashing this pandemic, they’re wrong.”
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