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Owner of California Biolab Tied to Chinese Government and Military, House Report Finds

Furniture, chemicals and devices were improperly stored. Superior Court of the State of California
Furniture, chemicals and devices were improperly stored. Superior Court of the State of California

By: Philip Lenczycki, Daily Caller News Foundation

The recently-arrested owner of a California biolab allegedly has ties to the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and a program related to its military, the House Select Committee on the CCP announced Wednesday.

Jia Bei Zhu, 62, allegedly served as a “corporate officer” within Chinese “military-civil fusion organizations,” according to materials shared by the Select Committee on the CCP. Zhu was arrested in October for “manufacturing and distributing misbranded medical devices in violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and for making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

“Zhu is a PRC citizen who served as a corporate officer on military-civil fusion organizations within the PRC and private organizations affiliated with or partially controlled by the PRC government,” the committee’s film stated.

Military-Civil Fusion (MCF) is a CCP “strategy to develop the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a ‘world class military’ by 2049,” according to the State Department. “The CCP’s MCF strategy allows a growing number of civilian enterprises and entities to undertake classified military R&D and weapons production.”

Zhu also served as an executive at several “PRC government-controlled and directed companies,” according to the committee’s report.

Between April and June 2023, officials in Fresno, California, discovered at least 20 potentially infectious agents, such as HIV and Malaria, as well as mice genetically engineered to carry COVID-19, at an “unlicensed” laboratory in Reedley, California, operated by Prestige Biotech Inc. (PBI), the successor of defunct Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI), Fresno County court records state.

Zhu allegedly admitted that he operated his many companies in order to “further PRC policy and to meet the city demands of a PRC premier,” according to the committee.

While living in the U.S., Zhu “operated under the false alias David He,” according to the committee’s findings, and received “large unexplained money transfers from PRC bank accounts” amounting to over $2 million.

Before living in the U.S., Zhu operated several companies in Canada that allegedly “engaged in massive theft of American cattle-related intellectual property,” according to the committee. Zhu eventually fled to the U.S. illegally after his Canadian companies received a $330 million judgment for crimes related to intellectual property theft, the committee claims.

Zhu’s private messages with a “co-conspirator” on the Chinese application WeChat allegedly include an exchange in which Zhu stated that his “fraudulent companies” would “defeat the American aggressor and wild ambitious wolf.”

“The law is strong, but the outlaws are ten times stronger,” Zhu allegedly told his co-conspirator while discussing “American imperialism,” according to the committee.

The discovery of the illegal biolab occurred in April 2023, when a Reedley Code Enforcement Officer named Jesalyn Harper discovered a garden hose illegally attached to the facility’s exterior, the committee reported.

Soon thereafter, city officials discovered “thousands of vials” within the facility, some of which were unlabeled, while others had labels in Mandarin Chinese, the committee announced. However, certain labels were allegedly written in a code that hasn’t been deciphered, according to the committee.

Local officials eventually contacted the FBI who allegedly declined to investigate the biolab, the committee reported. Likewise, the CDC allegedly “refused to speak” with Reedley officials and “on multiple occasions hung up on local officials mid-conversation,” according to the committee’s film.

But, Democratic California Rep. Jim Costa allegedly persuaded the CDC to visit the Reedley facility at some point, the committee claims. However, the CDC allegedly determined that there was “no evidence of select agents or toxins” and had state and local authorities destroy evidence from the facility subject to a court order, according to the committee.

Among the items that the CDC personnel allegedly failed to discover was a “freezer labeled ebola,” the committee claims.

The committee’s report confirmed findings from the DCNF’s August 2023 investigation.

“Universal Meditech Inc (UMI) / Prestige Biotech Inc. executives Yao Xiuqin and Wang Zhaoyan share the names with the heads of Ai De Biopharmaceutical in Qingdao, China,” the committee’s report states. “According to import records and documents recovered at the Reedley Biolab, Ai De Biopharmaceutical (which shares the same address as Ai De Diagnostic) in Qingdao has made many shipments of medical supplies to UMI and Prestige. Zhu’s PRC companies are located in the Qingdao High-Tech Industrial Park.”

Jiabei Zhu could not be reached for comment.

Related Story: DOJ Charges Chinese National Who Operated Illegal Biolab in California

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