Speaking to CNBC, Bannon accused Beijing officials of covering up the coronavirus outbreak in the city of Wuhan. According to the strategist, the Chinese government "knew" about the virus but refused to warn the world about it.
"They're the enemy of the Chinese people, they're the enemy of the citizens of the United States, and they're an enemy of mankind."Bannon pointed to unprecedented unemployment numbers in the United States and to the deaths caused by COVID-19, arguing that the Chinese government is "knowingly responsible" for the spread of the deadly virus.
As The Washington Examiner notes, China has been accused of covering up information related to the virus. There have also been reports that the novel COVID-19 originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. The reports do not allege that the virus was engineered, but rather that it accidentally leaked out of the lab because the Chinese government did not take the necessary safety precautions.
U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly been ordered to investigate whether China conspired with the World Health Organization (WHO) to cover up information about COVID-19. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly placed blame on the Chinese Communist Party, accusing it of withholding vital data. Trump has also vowed to suspend U.S. funding for the WHO.
According to Bannon, whether the allegations about China are true or not, and regardless of what intelligence community investigations reveal, the Chinese government "knew they had human transmission and community spread in mid-to-late-December," but "lied."
"They're directly responsible. The people of the world are going to demand an accounting. They're going to demand a responsibility, and the Chinese Communist Party is going to have to pay," Bannon said.
"I think the world's going to hold them in judgment, and that judgment is not going to be pretty," the former White House official added.Bannon has previously called for more aggressive measures against China and slammed the country's ruling party. In an interview last week, he compared the Chinese Communist Party to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party, calling for regime change.
Other prominent figures on the right have called for a more hawkish foreign policy.
Notably, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas have railed against the Chinese government, with Graham calling for sanctions and Cruz describing China as America's "greatest geopolitical threat."
Trump — who has been waging a trade war against China — argued in a recent interview that the Chinese government will do all it can to help his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, win the 2020 presidential election.