A group of 17 GOP governors has written to the Biden administration and Congressional leaders, urging them to take action to prevent the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from buying U.S. land.
In a letter dated Dec. 4, led by Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Republican governors called on President Joe Biden, Secretary Janet Yellen, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to address the CCP threat.
“Numerous governors and state legislatures have taken action to protect our citizens from the imminent national security threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” the governors said. “But national security demands a national response from national leaders. The responsibility is now with you—follow the lead of our States and prevent CCP amassing of American lands.”
The letter noted that while the Biden administration failed to act, 11 states have enacted foreign ownership laws in 2023, and Arkansas has become the first state to pass such a law.
“For too long, we have allowed dangerous and adversarial governments to infiltrate our country,” the letter warned. “Our States will tolerate such allowances no longer. The Biden Administration must reckon with the fact that such entities are plain threats to our national security, our farmers, and our citizenry.”
“This is especially true since the CCP enacted a law in 2017 requiring Chinese citizens abroad to collaborate with Chinese security officials on intelligence work,” the governors noted.
The letter cited a case of CCP-controlled electric vehicle battery maker Gotion buying 270 acres for its plant in Green Charter Township, Michigan, which is not far from the Camp Grayling military training center. “Unfortunately, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States declined to block—or even review—this plainly alarming transaction.”
The governors praised some congressional efforts to address this issue and urged lawmakers to codify this position into law.
“Until Congress passes such legislation, we urge the Biden Administration to use all available tools to prevent the continued acquisition of American lands by adversarial foreign governments and entities,” the letter said.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, China owns nearly 384,000 acres of U.S. agricultural land, representing 0.9 percent of all U.S. agricultural land owned by foreign entities as of the end of 2021.
Notably, China’s ownership of U.S. agricultural land surged 55 percent from 247,000 acres in 2019 to 384,000 acres in 2021, while during the 2016-2019 period, the increase in China’s U.S. land ownership was less than 1 percent. In 2010, China only owned 13,720 acres.
There are some high-profile cases relating to China buying U.S. land near sensitive military facilities. In 2021, Chinese food company Fufeng purchased 370 acres of farmland to build a corn-milling plant near the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Meanwhile, legislative efforts are underway as lawmakers have introduced legislation to fight against CCP threats.
In July, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) to ban China and other foreign adversaries from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural businesses. The amendment will be included in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2024.
In March, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) introduced legislation titled “Not One More Inch or Acre Act” to ban China from owning any U.S. land, including agricultural and other real estate properties. The bill further gives the U.S. president the authority to require a sale if existing property ownership is deemed a national security risk.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also introduced a bill in March that would bar entities linked to the Chinese regime from buying or leasing U.S. agricultural land. The legislation also requires existing owners to divest their interests under the bill or face fines and criminal consequences.
In February, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced a bill to ban China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from buying or leasing U.S. farmland and agricultural businesses. The legislation also makes the secretary of agriculture a standing member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Terri Wu contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times