Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department this week seeking information over the compulsory anal COVID-19 tests that Chinese officials inappropriately administered to American diplomats.
“Our diplomatic personnel were abused in a reprehensible way by the Chinese and the Biden administration seems to have done little in response—except to cover it up,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.
Judicial Watch filed suit after the State Department refused to comply with an earlier FOIA request for all communications and complaints about these coerced procedures.
It demanded “[a]ll records about US diplomatic personnel in or seeking to enter China being subjected to anal swab tests for the COVID-19 virus, including all complaints and communications regarding such testing,” according to a press release.
“This request does not seek any personal identifying information of US diplomatic personnel that may have been subjected to such testing,” it added.
No one would be named or outed; Judicial Watch would simply get a better understanding of how the government internally processed and responded to this novel problem.
And to be sure, it is a problem.
Earlier this year, a State Department spokesperson told Vice World News that “the State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it.”
But the protesting came after the fact as China subjected an untold number of American diplomats to these tests—and potentially their family members, too.
As is standard operating procedure in China, Chinese officials denied the allegations that it forced these tests on American diplomats.
One official was quoted as saying that “China has never requested US diplomatic personnel in China to undergo anal swabs.”
This controversy occurs against the backdrop of a cooling in relations between Beijing and Washington.
The exact trajectory of this declining relationship is uncertain, but if China continues its harassment of American citizens, then the Biden administration must not dismiss provocations as mere ‘errors’.