I wish I could join the groundswell of opinion demanding that China be held liable for allowing the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 to get out of control. The drumbeat includes, for example, a class action lawsuit filed in Florida last week and the argument that we should treat the outbreak as we would an act of terrorism, because under U.S. law, a country that sponsors terror can’t claim sovereign immunity.
But I cannot. If you want to argue that the government of China has behaved irresponsibly, that the country’s officials deserve the condemnation of the world for letting the novel coronavirus escape when early action could have kept it under reasonable control, you’ll get no argument from me. The Chinese authorities have chosen denial, censorship and bluster rather than the transparency that might have saved lives. The regime’s transmission of patently false information has made matters worse.
Legal liability, however, is another matter. The government of China is protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, and the regime’s undoubted misconduct does not constitute sufficient grounds for a waiver.
Sovereign immunity is not a favor courts do for foreign regimes. It’s an act of reciprocity, a peace treaty resting on a shared understanding that we will not allow our people to sue you if you will not allow your people to sue us. So broad is the traditional doctrine that a British court held in 1894 that even if a foreign ruler moves into one’s country, takes on an assumed name and conceals his true position, and enters into a contract, a lawsuit against him for breach is still barred.
Until 1952, the U.S. generally took the position that the immunity of foreign sovereigns was absolute. 1 That year, the State Department took the position that it would more closely scrutinize claims of immunity where the case involved a commercial dispute. That in turn led to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, known as FSIA, passed in 1976, a statute intended (in the words of one federal court) “to protect foreign sovereigns from the burdens of litigation, including the cost and aggravation of discovery.”
So broad are the statute’s protections that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a foreign country need not even file an answer to a complaint — what lawyers call entering an appearance — in order for immunity to apply. 2 For example, when the family of a boy allegedly killed by a malfunctioning hunting rifle sued the manufacturer, a company owned by the Chinese government, the defendant did not bother offering a response in court. Instead, the company just sent the lawsuit documents back to the plaintiff, and the company was held to be immune.
Of course, if control of a company turns out to rest in private hands, sovereign immunity offers no defense. U.S. courts have been willing to go as far as tracing the actual ownership of a foreign corporation, to be sure that a government in fact controls the majority of shares. This, too, has been applied to Chinese companies (Chinese businesses get sued a lot). 3 Even before the current outbreak, an increasing number of Chinese companies have been asserting sovereign immunity in U.S. courts. But none of this would have any application to a suit against the Chinese government itself.
What about other exceptions in the statute? The Florida class action suit asserts that the exception for commercial activities applies, but it’s not easy to see how. The suit also purports to fall within the exception for death or harm “caused by the tortious act or omission of that foreign state or of any official or employee of that foreign state while acting within the scope of his office or employment.” But that section specifically bars any claim “based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function regardless of whether the discretion be abused.” It’s hard to find a way around this restriction.
Yes, China’s behavior has been reckless, but that possibility is baked into the very idea of sovereign immunity. Tort law generally rests on the proposition that people will take reasonable precautions if they know they’ll be liable for the harm they cause. Theorists refer to the process as forcing people to “internalize” the costs of their behavior; that internalization avoids the problem of moral hazard.
Under sovereign immunity, however, the costs of misbehavior by a government tend to lie where they fall. That concern led to the adoption a few years ago of the exception for sponsors of international terror. There, at least, a part of the costs of reckless behavior will be internalized. But beyond a handful of small islands of civil liability created by legislation, the punishment for another country’s recklessness is likely to be political.
The government of China has essentially bet that it will suffer no punishment, that politics will be its protection. But one wonders whether this will turn out to be true. The world has suffered trillions of dollars in losses from the regime’s recklessness. The economic fallout might well last a long time. Perhaps world leaders will act after all.
And even if they don’t, a judge might. Until FSIA went into effect in the late 1970s, the State Department adjudicated sovereign immunity claims on a case-by-case basis. Since then, courts have done so. Recent analysis has suggested that judicial decisions on whether to grant sovereign immunity are often influenced by the politics of the moment than the State Department was.
If this analysis is correct, then it’s easy to imagine that no matter what world political leaders may do, a handful of U.S. judges might insist that some special aspect of the pandemic means that the Chinese regime is liable under FSIA after all. I’m skeptical that the judges would be right, but I suspect that a bipartisan coalition of elected officials would cheer them on
This remains the formal position of the Chinese government.
See specifically the much-quoted footnote 20.
At the same time, U.S. courts have been scrupulous about barring plaintiffs from entangling Chinese corporate entities in lawsuits against the government itself. For example, a federal appellate court held in 2011 that a statute allowing lawsuits against foreign officials who engage in torture could not be used to sue a bank allegedly controlled by the Chinese government unless the plaintiff could show that bank officials who arranged his arrest in effect intended his mistreatment by police.
Advocacy For Women Into Power Congratulates Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang
Ghanaian women advocacy group “Advocacy For Women Into Power” which is a leading group for young women into Politics in Ghana has officially issued congratulatory messages to Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang who has been confirmed as the running mate of John Dramani Mahama for 2020 general election.
Professor Jane was confirmed for her candidature on 6th July 2020 by the National Executive council of National Democratic Congress (NDC) party in Accra. This came as a surprise to Ghanaians as she competed with top-notch politicians like Kwabena Duffour who is the former finance minister.
Prof. Jane Naane Opoku-Agyemang has served as Minister for Education and also as the first female Vice-Chancellor for a public university of Ghana.
In the release, it was indicated that “Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang is known for her good services and well respected by all academics in Ghana. She has proven to all Ghanaian women that a woman can accomplish every dream they hope for through hard work and dedication”.
In the press release, it was also indicated that “Ghana is showing to the entire world that women are valued and are equally competent as men who have dominated our political space for decades”.
Currently, Ghana has about 12% of women in the political space and that Prof. Naana OpokuAgyemang’s appointment will help put more light on the need to continue to empower women to the highest political positions in Ghana.
“We as women advocacy group Congratulates Prof. Jane Naane Opoku-Agyemang in a special way for this milestone and as a women group we will continue to support her and all women who are working hard to attain the highest level in Ghana’s political space”. According to UNDP, Ghana is yet to meet the policy of 40% of women appointees to the local government despite the fact that women constitute (51.2%) more than half of Ghana’s population.
Advocacy For Women Into Power is a non-governmental women advocacy group with the vision of “Empowering Women into governance for sustainable development”. The advocacy group is known for their empowerment programs to incorporate and tertiary institutions across the country that has gain maximum support from young ladies who are empowered and taken an active part in various political activities.
To the advocacy group, Ghana will surely develop and women will play a key role. Therefore, the need to be given the opportunity to use their skills and knowledge for sustainable national development.
We the Advocacy For Women Into Power with sincere joy wish to congratulate Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang for her appointment as the running mate for His Excellency John Dramani Mahama for the upcoming 2020 general election.
As a woman advocacy group in Ghana, we are excited about this appointment because it shows that Ghana is showing to the entire world that women are valued and are equally competent as men who have dominated our political space for decades.
Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang is known for her good services and well respected by all academia’s in Ghana. She has proven to all Ghanaian women that a woman can accomplish every dream they hope for through hard work and dedication.
With the vision of “Empowering Women into governance for sustainable development”, this is great news for us all as we continue to use the limited available resources provided to continue to educate and empower women across the nation to partake in good governance to help achieve the SDG 5 – “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
We as women advocacy group Congratulates Prof. Jane Naane Opoku-Agyemang in a special way for this milestone. As a women group, we will continue to support her and all women who are working hard to attain the highest level in Ghana’s political space.
We believe that Ghana will surely develop and women will play a major role. Therefore, women in all political parties in Ghana should be given the opportunity to use their skills and knowledge for sustainable development
A win for a woman is a win for all
ADVOCACY FOR WOMEN INTO POWER
Police Raid Togolese Juju Man’s House And Find Over 5000 Dead Bodies And Skeletons | WATCH
A shocking viral video circulating on social media reveals about 5000 dead human beings found buried alive after police raided the house of a ‘juju’ man reported to be residing in Nigeria.
Amid the atrocities going on in this cruel world, there are still some wicked people out there who have decided to do insane things like the story of a Togolese ritualist who has been arrested for been found with over 5,000 dead bodies.
According to a video posted on Instagram by executive news, the dead bodies buried underneath a huge pit with some of which were buried alive and some having only the remains of their skeleton.
According to the Instagram blogger known as executive_news, amid the arrest of the ‘juju’ man, it is alleged that people were queueing to bring people for ritual money of which they have already paid for. Shocking right?
“This man from Togo is where Nigerians especially the Yorubas, troupe to for money rituals, police recently raided the compound and discovered 2000 people who have been dried like stockfish,500 persons buried alive and thousands of skeletons, this man and his over thirty servants were picked up, it was later discovered that over,5000 Nigerians, Togolese, Beninoise and nationalities from Africa are in queues waiting for their turns for the rituals which they have paid for…. MAY GOD DESTROY THIS GENERATION..AMEN” executive_news stated.
This attests to the reality that some money-obsessed people haven’t changed regardless of all that is going on in the world today.
Some people are ever ready to go far and do extreme things such as this to get money or whichever the purpose of murdering all of those souls. Thankfully, the ritualist won’t kill anymore, we hope, as has been arrested.
Don’t Drive In Your Car For The Next 72 Hours : Mallam Warns Mahama’s Veep
Popular Islamic cleric Mallam Shamuna has issued a strong warning to the newly appointed running mate of John Mahama and former Education Minister Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang.
According to the cleric, starting from today 7th July till the next 72 hours, Naana Opoku Agyemang shouldn’t drive in her personal car.
Mallam Shamuna explained that this is spiritual advice that is personally meant for her after she was appointed by the NDC presidential candidate to help stir the affairs of the state.
Taking to his facebook page he shared:
“PROF. NAANA JANE OPOKU-AGYEMANG, CONGRATULATIONS.
YOU ARE SPIRITUALLY ADVICE NOT TO USE YOUR PERSONAL BELONGING CAR FROM 7PM ON THE 7TH OF JULY, 2020 UP TO 72 HOURS. YOU CAN USE ANYBODY’S CAR TO ANY PART OF THE COUNTRY OR WORLD.
PROF. NAANA JANE OPOKU-AGYEMANG!!! ADD ADDITIONAL TWO DWARFS QUEENS HEARS TOGETHER WITH ANGELS HEARS AND LISTEN TO THIS CAREFULLY. I THEREFORE ADVICE THE PEOPLE AROUND HER TO HELP HER EXECUTE THE ADVICE. YOU ARE VERY LUCKY THAT GOD HAVE SHOWN IT TO ME. AFTER THE 72 HOURS, YOU CAN FEEL FREE TO USE YOUR OWN CAR. PLEASE DO AWAY WITH LOGIC, REASONING, BUREAUCRACY, CERTIFICATES AND POSITION, AND GRAB GOD AND THE SPIRIT.
MAY THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH PROTECT US ALL. THE DETAILS IS IN THE HANDS OF OUR CREATOR.”
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