Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy falsely claims there were Chinese bioweapons labs found in California

In reality, as The Associated Press reported at the time, “The charges deal with federal health regulations, nothing related to online conspiracy theories about China purportedly trying to engineer biological weapons in rural America”

During a June 5 diatribe about the dangers of Chinese influence within our hemisphere, Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy wrongly asserted that “bioweapons labs [were] found in California.” The host was seemingly referring to debunked conspiracy theories that had circulated the previous fall.

In 2023, an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration found an unauthorized lab in Fresno, California, which was owned by Jia Bei Zhu. Zhu was arrested on “charges of not obtaining the proper permits to manufacture tests for COVID-19, pregnancy and HIV.” 

Discovery of the lab had fueled conspiracy theories about bioweapons, but as The Associated Press reported at the time, “The charges deal with federal health regulations, nothing related to online conspiracy theories about China purportedly trying to engineer biological weapons in rural America.” Additionally, according to the article, “The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there was no sign that the lab was illegally in possession of the materials or had select agents or toxins that could be used as bioweapons.”

Yet during a morning rant about the supposed dangers permeating American borders, Campos-Duffy seemingly referred to the lab while fearmongering about “the Chinese exerting influence all over our hemisphere.” She went on to allege that “some people [are] saying the election in Mexico, the Chinese were very much involved in that election.” 

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Citation From the June 5, 2024, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY (CO-HOST): What's happening in our own hemisphere, you have Mexico turning into a narco-state but, more importantly, you have the Chinese exerting influence all over our hemisphere: flying, you know, spy balloons over our country, buying up farmland, setting up secret police, bioweapons labs found in California, and then buying up all kinds of, you know, mines and infrastructure and ports all over Latin America. This is unheard of in our own backyard. This is a massive problem. Many people are saying it's actually the biggest problem. And some people saying the election in Mexico, the Chinese were very much involved in that election. And we had 34 candidates who were killed in this campaign season in Mexico. Mexico is a very hot spot right now.