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Defamation in International Law: The Legal Implications of Trump Calling COVID-19 “Chinese Virus”, Vol. 53

Geeta Moni & Raghav Srinivas

22 Nov 2020

On March th 2020, President Donald Trump retweeted a tweet referring to the COVID-19 virus as “Chinese Virus.” This sparked a massive, worldwide response both for and against the term. It has led to the increased use of “#Chinesevirus“ on Twitter and sparked significant anti-China sentiments. It has not only affected US-China trade relations but also the global stock market. And, the term has been criticized as racist and xenophobic. In response to the criticIn today’s world, information and misinformation spread like wildfire. When this is combined with the fact that powerful nations issue unverified statements influencing the attitudes of others, there will be devastating effects. Even though the UNGA resolution 31/91 foresees such a threat, there needs to be further action taken by members of the international community to protect States from destabilization due to defamation. Defining defamation, as done here, would go a long way in combating it. While countries continue to have access to the global audience and freedom of expression through their media, a definition will restrict them from using this to harm the economic, social, and political stability of other countries.ism, President Trump pled the defense of truth by saying that “the virus came from China.” With the advent of the internet and spread of global access to information, such unverified comments can significantly affect the domestic and international perception of a nation. This raises the question as to if injured parties have any remedy under international law. The focus of this article is to answer this question by first defining and analyzing the concept of defamation of a State and then discussing the remedies available to the defamed State.

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