This is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Top officials within the Donald Trump administration in the United States have been pressuring their spies to find evidence to support a conspiracy theory that would identify a lab in Wuhan capable of handling the worst biohazards as the origin of the coronavirus outbreak. That’s not all. At least two Republican state lawsuits in the US are being launched against China arguing for exemption pre-emptively from claims of sovereign immunity. The idea is that foreign states can be sued in US courts if they commit acts in which American citizens are hurt, namely, terrorism. So, it looks like the Chinese Community Party is being accused of terrorism, however accidental. Is there such a thing? Chimène Keitner, a US specialist in international law and translational litigation, as well as a former legal counsellor at the US Department of State, has argued against it in the journal Just Security . Beijing tells US to stop blaming China for coronavirus pandemic But who knows? It’s anything goes with US laws relating to terrorism in the la la land of Republican politics. Among top officials pushing for proof of the conspiracy theory is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times . Others include deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and Anthony Ruggiero, head of the National Security Council’s bureau tracking weapons of mass destruction. WMD, again? There is another popular conspiracy theory, that is, Covid-19 is a bioweapon engineered by the Chinese. Trump has mentioned something similar, apparently contradicting the US national intelligence director’s office after the latter said it had determined Covid-19 “was not man-made or genetically modified”. Trump says China wants him to lose 2020 re-election race What’s next? An invasion of China? No, not an actual shooting war, but an economic war. It’s all about decoupling and containment, cutting off China’s global supply chains, degrading its hi-tech industries and slowing its economic growth. Trump can sell such a war in an election year and distract the US public from the mess he made of the health crisis. That’s the Republican strategy: an election campaign advisory from the National Republican Senatorial Committee telling GOP candidates to address the coronavirus crisis by aggressively attacking China ; likewise, a National Security Council directive instructing federal agencies to focus on accusing Beijing of orchestrating a “cover-up” and creating a global pandemic. Neoconservatives once saw 9/11 as an excuse to attack Iraq. Their successors now want to exploit Covid-19 to go after China. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.