In the California farming community of Reedly, the town’s lone code inspector visited what was supposed to be an abandoned building. Inside she found two people in full PPE and a host of biohazards.
News reports say authorities found upwards of 1,000 mice, blood and urine samples and a bonanza of other materials. Early investigations tied the lab back to the Chinese government, which kicked off a U.S. House investigation. Here’s what House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party report found according to a mid-November news release.
Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party unveiled a report on its investigation into the illegal People’s Republic of China-tied biolab discovered in Reedley, Calif. The members were joined by Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), whose district includes Reedley, Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL).
Reedley city officials Jesalyn Harper and Nicole Zieba joined the event remotely, sharing their experiences and first-hand knowledge on the discovery of the biolab in 2022, and the lack of a CDC response which prompted the Select Committee to issue a subpoena and launch a bipartisan investigation.
Ret. Colonel Robert P. Kaldec M.D., a biosecurity expert, discussed the national security and public health risks of this biolab operating illegally on U.S. soil.
Here’s what the Committee found:
- The illegal biolab was run by a PRC citizen who is a wanted fugitive from Canada with a $330 million Canadian dollar judgment against him for stealing American intellectual property.
- This PRC citizen was a top official at a PRC-state-controlled company and had links to military-civil fusion entities.
- The illegal biolab received millions of dollars in unexplained payments from PRC banks while running the illegal biolab.
- The illegal biolab contained thousands of samples of labeled, unlabeled, and encoded potential pathogens, including HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and Covid.
- The illegal biolab also contained a freezer labeled “Ebola,” which contained unlabeled, sealed silver bags consistent with how the lab stored high risk biological materials. Ebola is a Select Agent with a lethality rate between 25% to 90%.
- The biolab contained nearly a thousand transgenic mice, genetically engineered to mimic the human immune system. Lab workers said that the mice were designed “to catch and carry the COVID-19 virus.”
- After local officials who discovered the lab sought help from the CDC and others, the CDC refused to test any of the samples.
According to Scripps News, the House investigation was one of 15 that were launched across the country.
Anna Puglisi, a former U.S. national counterintelligence officer for East Asia, told Scripps the revelations about Zhu and his lab in Reedley weren’t surprising. The efforts of China’s Communist party, she said, go way beyond traditional espionage and are deliberately carried out in more remote parts of this country.
“China looks beyond the national and they do look to the state and local. It’s easier to operate,” she said. “We’re not used to dealing with issues like this at the state and local level. And so it really requires a raising of awareness of how China is targeting different parts of our society.
“One of the policies that we’ve seen in place for several decades is called Serve in Place,” she told Scripps. “The whole idea [is] that you can serve the Chinese Communist Party without returning to China.” She said the U.S. system was set up to counter the Soviets, “things that are illegal, have direct military application, or involve intelligence officers — that doesn’t fit how China targets us.”
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