The Chinese Communist Party reportedly blocked U.S. manufacturers from exporting desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE), which is used to protect medical workers, as the pandemic exploded, and now the Trump administration is weighing taking legal action against China.
The New York Post reported on Sunday, “Leading US manufacturers of medical safety gear told the White House that China prohibited them from exporting their products from the country as the coronavirus pandemic mounted – even as Beijing was trying to ‘corner the world market’ in personal protective equipment.”
“Executives from 3M and Honeywell told US officials that the Chinese government in January began blocking exports of N95 respirators, booties, gloves and other supplies produced by their factories in China,” the Post reported, according to a senior administration official. “China paid the manufacturers their standard wholesale rates, but prohibited the vital items from being sold to anyone else, the official said.”
China also imported $1.2 billion worth of “epidemic prevention and control materials” from the end of January through the end of February that included billions of masks and tens of millions of “protective clothing” items from numerous countries around the world.
The senior official told the Post, “Data from China’s own customs agency points to an attempt to corner the world market in PPE like gloves, goggles, and masks through massive increased purchases – even as China, the world’s largest PPE manufacturer, was restricting exports.”
Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the 2020 Trump campaign, told the Post about legal options that the Trump administration could take against China.
Ellis, not speaking for the administration, told the Post, “People are dying. When you have intentional, cold-blooded premeditated action like you have with China, this would be considered first-degree murder.”
Ellis said that the administration is considering working “through the United Nations” to go after China.
“They have victimized the world once and now they are re-victimizing with their profiteering off of PPE that is desperately needed in the countries that are being ravaged by the Chinese coronavirus,” Ellis told The Daily Wire.
Michael Wessell, a founding member of the federal US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, confirmed that the allegations against China were true in a statement to the Post, saying that American medical professionals are “starved of PPE to fight this crisis” because of China.
“We understand that China has engaged in policies to try and not only develop its own capabilities, but to do so at expense of producers around the world,” Wessell said. “At a time when demand was rising to deal with the crisis, China was marshaling all of the products for its own use.”
Wessell said that some of the actions taken by China “are probably illegal.”
“[China is] using it for soft power, essentially saying it’s a humanitarian gesture to try to curry goodwill with American people when some of the problems we’re facing are the direct result of Chinese policies,” Wessell added.
The news comes after numerous supplies that China has shipped around the world have proven to be defective, and the communist nation forced Italy to buy back supplies that Italy gave to China to help them fight the outbreak when it first started.
“After COVID-19 made its way to Italy, decimating the country’s significant elderly population, China told the world it would donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help Italy stop its spread,” the Spectator reported. “Reports later indicated that China had actually sold, not donated, the PPE to Italy. A senior Trump administration official tells the Spectator that it is much worse than that: China forced Italy to buy back the PPE supply that it gave to China during the initial coronavirus outbreak.”
The official told the Spectator, “Before the virus hit Europe, Italy sent tons of PPE to China to help China protect its own population. China then has sent Italian PPE back to Italy – some of it, not even all of it … and charged them for it.”