An attorney who has filed the lawsuits says he can prove those claims, and, if they win, find some method of collecting damages, perhaps by seizing Chinese bank accounts or other assets in the U.S. if the Chinese refuse to pay.

In one case filed in Miami federal court on behalf of Andringa-Meurer and many others, attorney Matthew Moore is suing the Chinese Communist Party as an entity separate from the Chinese government.

“They have their own assets. They are recognized as an independent organization. We are going to argue they are not a part of the government,” Moore said. “There has been personal injury that happened in the United States.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang defended his country’s record of fighting the virus. He said the lawsuit filed by the Missouri attorney general is “very absurd and has no factual and legal basis.”

Since the outbreak began, China has proceeded in an “open, transparent, and responsible manner,” and the U.S. government should “dismiss such vexatious litigation,” he said.