(NewsSpace.com) – There are tens of thousands of laboratories in the United States that carry out a variety of research and testing. In order to operate, they must follow rigorous guidelines and laws and be licensed. Any such violation is grounds for shutting the entire lab down. Egregious violations could result in criminal charges. A new Congressional report is sounding the alarm on a Chinese biolab that operated in California undetected for an indeterminate amount of time.
On November 16, the House Select Committee on the CCP issued a report on an illegal PRC-tied biolab that operated in Reedley, California. In its report, the committee details how Jesalyn Harper, a code enforcement officer, took note of a garden hose coming out of a warehouse, a violation. She then went to inspect the building and reportedly found a host of vials containing biological substances and around 1,000 mice that were bioengineered and used for research experiments. The lab workers were
According to the report, Harper’s discovery set off an investigation that lasted nine months. City officials reached out to various law enforcement and public health officials and agencies and were stonewalled. It notes that the FBI refused to investigate and that the CDC wouldn’t cooperate. That’s when they got Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), who got the CDC onsite, involved.
However, the document notes that the CDC didn’t investigate, only identified pathogens, and of those there were at least 20 potential infectious agents. The agency didn’t test the materials and eventually ordered Reedley city officials to destroy the materials within. The report questions how much information the CDC could’ve gained if it hadn’t destroyed the lab’s contents.
The congressional investigation eventually revealed a tie between the lab and Jiabei “Jesse” Zhu, a Chinese citizen who has strong ties to the government. He ran a network of companies in Canada that “engaged in a massive theft of American intellectual property” which resulted in a $330 million judgment. He then fled the country and purportedly entered the US illegally, where he operates under the name David He and continued under the same MO.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California indicted Zhu on three counts, including lying to the FDA and the distribution of misbranded and adulterated medical devices, on November 16.
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