FBI warns Ca. officials genetics testing company likely sharing Americans' health data with China

The L.A. sheriff has called for the cancelation of government contracts with Chinese-American owned company Fulgent
Image
FBI
FBI
(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A report from the Washington Free Beacon reveals that the FBI says a genetics testing company that receives tens of million of dollars in federal contracts is likely providing the health data of its users to the Chinese government.

The bureau warned Los Angeles County officials that it had obtained "very concerning information" about Fulgent Genetics – the California company founded by Chinese-American billionaire Ming Hsieh. It is unclear whether the company is voluntarily turning over health data to China, or whether it is doing so in an effort to comply with Chinese law.

In response to the FBI's warning, L.A. sheriff Alex Villanueva called for the cancelation of contracts with Fulgent, which had previously been testing employees for COVID-19 and keeping track of vaccination records.

A company spokesperson said Fulgent operated independently in China and "does not share personal data of any kind with the Chinese government." 

The company, however, has likely collected genetic data from millions of Americans via contracts with hospitals and government agencies. In 2016, Fulgent received a contract from a hospital network that provides genetic tests for U.S. Army personnel and their family members. 

Founded in 2011, Fulgent has expanded its business in China in recent years while also working its way deeper into the U.S. political landscape with ties to the American think tank the National Committee on U.S.-China relations, an organization considered soft on China.

Fulgent is a donor to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, which facilitates some elements of the relationship between Washington and Beijing. Ming Hsieh serves on its board, alongside executives from major U.S. companies like Apple and Disney, all vying for access to the Chinese market.

Hsieh was the guest of honor at the committee's annual gala in November, at which former Transportation secretary Elaine Chao presented him with an award. The committee has hosted a number of events at which Chinese government officials have criticized U.S. policy toward China. At an event in February, Politburo member Yang Jiechi called on the U.S. to "stop meddling" in China's affairs by criticizing the CCP for its human rights abuses in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong.