Very odd. Very dangerous. Very quiet.
And not the only one?
The discovery of an illegal “lab” replete with genetically engineered mice, vials of HIV and Covid, and no running water in a warehouse in Reedley has sparked international attention, but getting more answers is continuing to be difficult.
We have reached out with questions to numerous government agencies and industry associations in the field and has been met with silence thus far.
The CDC, the FBI, UC-Davis, the National Association for Biomedical Research, the California Biomedical Research Association, and numerous other laboratory and scientific facilities and associations have all either declined to comment or did not respond at all to multiple inquiries (the CDC, in fact, did not answer five information requests) for information and comment.
While they are remaining mum, other experts are not and they are raising the alarm about the Reedley lab.
China expert Ina Mitchell – co-author of The Mosaic Effect, a book on how China is waging a “hybrid war where no bullets are fired and the weapons of choice are social chaos and economic subversion” - is deeply troubled by the activities in Reedley, saying it fits the playbook of the Chinese Communist Party.
“The illegal biolab that was discovered in California tied to Chinese medical firms won’t be the only one because the CCP doesn’t work that way,” Mitchell said. “They do not set up one-off labs. Rather, this lab will be part of a much bigger plan.”
Mitchell – who is Canadian – said CCP-controlled entities “set up dozens if not hundreds of medical companies in Canada. Many have been set up as shell companies as a way to create several layers and levels between themselves and any connection to the Party. These companies are often used to create a legitimate front so that they can gain access to universities, researchers, and hospitals.”
This pattern holds true for the United States, she added. This would appear to apply specifically to the Reedley incident as the financial and corporate ties of the owners/operators involved are convoluted and ties directly back to China.
For background, eagle-eyed Reedley code enforcement officers in March spotted a garden hose going into what they thought was an empty building. Investigating the situation, they found a “lab” facility containing vials of deadly pathogens, hundreds of dead and/or dying mice, boxes of at-home covid tests, sketchy freezers containing human blood and tissue samples, and numerous other extremely dangerous substances and problems - https://californiaglobe.com/articles/mysterious-chinese-covid-lab-uncovered-in-city-of-reedly-ca/ .
The owner, Prestige Biotech, told Reedley officials that materials were items they took into their possession when Universal Meditech of Fresno went bankrupt (Prestige claim it was Universal’s largest lender) and they were storing the stuff in the Reedley warehouse temporarily.
Various government agencies have said that shortly after the March discovery they cleared the facility, euthanized the mice, and properly “disposed” of everything else.
Former FDA associate commissioner Prof. Peter Pitts – who now heads the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest - https://cmpi.org/ - was aghast at the situation.
“Somehow they got hold of some very dangerous viruses and they were fiddling around with them like a 10-year-old with a chemistry set,” Pitts said. “Where did they get those materials? There are very carefully monitored protocols for that. This does not compute.”
Considering the state of the “lab,” Pitts wondered exactly how the site was cleaned.
“There should be investigators still there,” Pitts said. “As to the mice, how can you possibly know you got all of them? You only got all of the mice you found still there.”
Pitts was also worried about the overseas connection, saying certain Chinese firms regularly engage in selling counterfeit drugs, illegal drugs (almost all of the fentanyl ingredients in the nation start out in China,) and even expired drugs.
Mitchell also noted this problem, saying that “our research has revealed that many of the CCP’s elite members who live in the Vancouver, BC, area are pharmaceutical manufacturing owners. So they have access to raw materials. We also know that many of these pharmaceutical facilities in China are set up to create both legitimate medical products and products destined for the black market and we know these products make their way to the West easily.”
We reached out to both the purported owner Xiuquin Yao with a series of questions – he has not responded and may not be in the United States - https://californiaglobe.com/articles/a-bio-meth-lab-in-reedley/ . All of the questions are listed at the bottom of this article.
Prestige’s bankruptcy attorney, Michael Lin of Las Vegas, did not respond to requests for comment but his receptionist did – probably by accident – mention Wednesday that he was not currently in the country.
Earlier today, the Daily Caller News Foundation - https://dailycaller.com/2023/08/04/illegal-biolab-discovered-in-california-tied-to-chinese-medical-firms/ - detailed Prestige and Universal’s ties to mainland China firms such as pregnancy test maker Ai De Diagnostic. It should be noted that both Prestige and Universal claimed to sell “Made in the USA” pregnancy and covid tests and that Prestige emphasized the importance of being able to label products thusly.
Mitchell said the desire for that “Made in the USA” stamp is very telling.
“If the CCP is behind it and the end game relates to espionage in some way then yes it is possible, and even likely, that it is shipped here and stamped ‘made in the USA,’” Mitchell said. “We saw Covid supplies, including medicine, bypassing customs because it was sent via diplomatic mission and distributed using the United Front led (Chinese Students and Scholars Association) CSSA to Chinese Nationals at local Universities here. We personally witnessed that some of the boxes included medicine. So yes, it’s possible and even likely that there are ‘other’ items shipped in these diplomatic shipments.”
Ai De Diagnostic - http://www.qdaide.com/english/index.aspx -, the Daily Caller noted, is located “within Qingdao’s “High-Tech Industrial Park” — one of over 150 parks for innovative enterprises established by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) across China, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology’s website.”
The Caller also noted that all three companies’ “leadership shares the same names with UMI and PBI’s heads. Ai De Biopharmaceutical’s executive director Wang Zhaoyan has the same name as both UMI’s CEO and PBI’s managing member, and Ai De Biopharmaceutical’s supervisor Yao Xiuqin shares the same name with PBI’s president, according to California and Nevada business filings.”
The labyrinthine Chinese connections were noted by Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst yesterday, who was quoted in the Daily Mail “China is not just in our backyard, they are in our house, illegally conducting risky research that poses a serious public health concern. We cannot allow what happened at Wuhan on our own shores. There must be accountability.” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12365939/China-house-warns-Republican-bust-illegal-Chinese-run-lab-California-revealed-dangerous-virus-mice-experimentation.html
Mitchell agreed and went even further.
“Overseas university students and researchers studying and working in the West also have to agree to be loyal to the party in exchange for scholarship funding and sometimes even to just travel and train in the West,” Mitchell said.
The arrest of a pair of sailors yesterday is undoubtedly an example of this type of Chinese infiltration.
Prosecutors said one of them who was born in China, was approached by a Chinese intelligence officer in February 2022 while he was applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen - https://www.npr.org/2023/08/04/1192066098/2-u-s-navy-sailors-charged-with-providing-sensitive-military-information-to-chin - and that his Chinese spymaster congratulated when became a U.S. citizen.
“Overseas Chinese are considered Chinese Nationals,” Mitchell said. “They are not considered Canadian or American even if they have permanently lived in either country for years. They live under the constant threat of being taken back (Operation Foxhunt) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Fox_Hunt or that their family members might be harmed. This is primarily how they are leveraged to work for the party in place. It also explains how they can get so many people to work for China inside Canada and the United States.”
And it was all uncovered by Reedley code enforcement officers just doing their job – really really well.
As referenced above, here are the questions the Globe sent to the operator and his lawyer:
· How did you come into possession of the materials found? I assume it was due to your being the primary creditor of UMI?
· How did you become involved in UMI and was its bankruptcy related to the test recall?
· UMI was reportedly an in vitro/pregnancy test company. How/when did it get int the COVID test business?
· How many tests did UMI produce and to whom were they sold?
· Did UMI receive any COVID-related government funding?
· How long has Prestige existed?
· Before taking possession of the UMI materials, did Prestige do any direct COVID (or other) work or was it more of a funding mechanism?
· Does Prestige have any licenses or permits in the state of California, from a simple business license all the way to lab permits?
· Where, besides Las Vegas, does Prestige have offices?
· Did UMI and/or Prestige do any work with the government of China?
· Do you have any experience running laboratory and/or manufacturing facilities?
· What is your relationship with bankruptcy attorney Lin?
· Does Prestige have any other facilities?
· Are you currently in California or China?
· Why was the Reedley location chosen?
· Where were you planning to move (as noted in your email) the contents of the property?
· Exactly what was in the Reedley facility? Reports say contents included 1000 mice, barely operating freezers, hundreds of unmarked vials, blood samples, tissue samples, live “bugs” like malaria, E.coli, COVID, herpes, hepatitis, etc.
· Why would a COVID test company have any other virus on-site?
· Why do you think the mice were worth one million dollars?
· What are the future plans for Prestige?
· Do you plan to continue making pregnancy tests?
· Do you think the City of Reedley acted properly or should they have given you time to fix the issues?