August 12, 2023

USA: China Communist Party As Of 2021 Now Owns 384,000 Acres Up 456% Since 2011. CCP Companies Are Puchasing Agricultural Land Next To US Military Bases. FactCheckers Say This Is Exaggerated.

LiveNOW from FOX published August 6, 2023: China buying up US land, lawmakers concerned about the adversary's influence. Lawmakers in Washington DC are concerned over land being purchased buy China. The debate centers around what the country's endgame might be.
NewsNation published July 24, 2023: Who is behind major land purchases near U.S. military bases? Nearly a billion dollars worth of land near Travis Air Force Base was purchased by Flannery Associates and no one can figure out where the group is getting the funds to do so. The mystery sale is raising national security concerns after similar purchases across the U.S. were financed by Chinese ownership groups. "On Balance" host Leland Vittert spoke with California Rep. John Garamendi, who says he and others raised the alarm months ago about the purchased land, abuts three sides of the base.

NBC News
written by Courtney Kube
Tuesday June 20, 2023

A bipartisan pair of senators hopes to limit China’s ability to purchase farmland in the U.S. and force the U.S. government to consider stripping some Chinese and foreign landowners of their real estate.

In a statement, Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said they “are taking action as a response to reports of China threatening America’s food supply and posing an even greater national security risk by acquiring U.S. farmland near military installations.”

The senators argue that current U.S. law does not provide enough oversight of which foreign entities are buying farmland and where they are purchasing large swaths of real estate.

According to the Agriculture Department, foreign ownership of U.S. land has nearly doubled in the past decade to over 40 million acres. The most recent Agriculture Department report, released with data through the end of 2021, found Canadian investors owned the most at the time, at 31%, or 12.8 million acres, while China held slightly less than 1% of all foreign-owned acres, or just over 380,000 acres total.

A growing number of U.S. lawmakers, many at the state level, have introduced legislation to ban foreign ownership of farmland, warning it could threaten U.S. food security and national security given that some purchases are close to U.S. military bases or other sensitive sites and that some purchases are by people or groups with direct ties to the Chinese government.

Ernst and Stabenow's bill would increase reporting and transparency and strengthen oversight by amending the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978, which created a nationwide system to collect information about foreign ownership of agricultural land.

The bill would give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, authority to consider agricultural and food security concerns in determining whether a land purchase is a national security threat. CFIUS is an interagency committee with representatives from the Defense, State, Homeland Security and Treasury departments, as well as a dozen other agencies, that reviews the security implications of foreign investments in the U.S.

The bill would also provide more staff to the Agriculture Department, give its secretary and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration review authority for some land purchases through CFIUS and create a publicly available database of agricultural land owned by foreign individuals.

The Agriculture Department does publish an annual report on foreign holdings of agricultural land; the information is based on reports that have been submitted in compliance with the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, and it may not include all foreign-owned or -leased land throughout the U.S.

In addition to changing future purchases, the bill also calls for a review of all purchases and leases from the last three years that exceed $5 million or 320 acres of land, and it would require CFIUS to consider retroactively stripping foreign entities of their real estate purchases.

“Food security is national security. China, our nation’s number one pacing threat, is buying the farm and encroaching on land surrounding military bases,” said Ernst, who is on the Senate Armed Services and Agriculture committees. “America needs to know how our foreign adversary has been allowed to use loopholes to attempt to exploit any potential vulnerability and assert control over our agriculture industry."

Stabenow is chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
NewsNation published June 26, 2023: Special Report: Made in America, Property of China. Companies affiliated with China are buying U.S. farmland at an increased rate. NewsNation's senior national correspondent Brian Entin hosts a one-hour special looking at the national security implications and how small towns are rallying together to fight back.

written by Paige Lobdell, Lauren Powell, Randi Orr, Steven Joachim
Monday June 26, 2023

GREEN CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Michigan — A Michigan community’s resistance to bringing a Chinese-owned company to town has succeeded — at least for the time being.

Chinese electric vehicle battery maker Gotion has temporarily delayed its request to rezone a portion of land in Green Charter Township, much to the delight of many in the community.

Gotion says the pause will allow them time to answer questions from the community and await a report from the U.S. government that reviews foreign investments and national security. That review was requested by a neighboring township board.

In a win for Gotion, however, the U.S. Department of Treasury determined that the purchase of Michigan land is not covered under the Defense Production Act, meaning the project continues to move forward, with the support of the township’s board, despite concerns in the community.

The Green Charter Township Supervisor Jim Chapman said he’s confident Gotion is still coming — and the project will move forward as early as July.

But some residents aren’t giving up, even going up against their elected officials who support the Gotion project. They’ve started a petition to recall the entire board, citing a lack of communication and transparency.

More than 415 signatures are needed to recall the board, and organizer Lori Brock is confident they’ll have enough by next week. If they’re successful, there will be a new election.

“It means we can go to an election in November and have our own people run against them and get rid of these people (the current board members),” said Brock. “That is what we wanted all along is to have a voice in this.”

She believes taking over the board is the only way to stop Gotion.

“We are pushing back … little wins,” said Brock. “But we are thrilled to have them; it brings more wind in our sails. Every time we get a win or more people joining up with us, it gives us more wind and we are very confident we are going to be OK.”

NewsNation reached out to Michigan lawmakers who voted in favor of Gotion, along with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Gotion itself.

Green Charter Township isn’t alone in this struggle. It’s also happening in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Residents in that part of the Bluegrass State are concerned that a company rumored to be connected to China is trying to build on farmland near the military base of Fort Campbell.

Microvast, like Gotion, makes batteries for electric vehicles. While they say they are not owned by China — nor connected to it — the U.S. Senate Committee on Science and Natural Resources has expressed concern over their CEO’s connection to China. Some Hopkinsville residents say the company has not been thoroughly vetted.

To residents, it seemed like good news when Microvast planned to build a factory — and bring almost 600 jobs with it. The U.S. Department of Energy even awarded the company a $200 million grant.

Shortly after, however, the Senate committee in Washington started investigating and claimed at public hearings that Micorvast was connected to China and the grant was rescinded.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., claimed during one hearing that 60% of Microvast’s revenue came from China and only 1% came from the U.S. He also claimed that the company’s CEO Yang Wu bragged that Microvast’s technology was developed in China, and asserted in the hearing that Wu was recruited by the Chinese Community Party.

Microvast declined a NewsNation request for an interview but in a statement on their website, they say they are not affiliated with the CCP.

“Microvast is based in Texas, its shares are traded on Nasdaq, and the operations for our global business are centralized in the U.S. Neither the Chinese government nor the Chinese Communist Party has any ownership in the Company, nor do they control or influence Company operations in any way,” the statement read in part.

Wu is a U.S. citizen and resides in the United States.

The state of Kentucky has put its funding for the Microvast project on hold as it awaits more details about why the Energy Department grant was rescinded.

CBN News published July 20, 2023 National Security Risk? Lawmakers Push Back as China Tries to Buy Land Near US Air Force Base. Foreign ownership of American land is a hot-button issue these days, especially when it comes to China. The U.S. city that put this concern on the map is Grand Forks, North Dakota.

CBN News
written by Mark Martin
Wednesday July 19, 2023

Foreign ownership of American land is a hot-button issue these days, especially when it comes to China. The U.S. city that put this concern on the map is Grand Forks, North Dakota.

CBN News traveled there to take a closer look at the pushback against what could be seen as a national security risk.

Council Vote

"Motion carries unanimously."


Cheers and shouts of "USA" erupted at a city council meeting earlier this year after Grand Forks council members voted to stop a $700 million Chinese-owned agricultural project.

"Ultimately, we saw quite a bit of pushback 'cause of the fact that it had some Chinese investment, and it was definitely a long road, a lot of ups and downs," Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski shared with CBN News.

He said that economically, the Fufeng USA proposed development "would have been phenomenal."

"It would have been a huge boon for our city – new high-paying jobs," he explained. "It would have helped out the farmers by having higher prices for their corn, a new market, obviously a massive amount of construction jobs, sales tax comes with that, property tax."

'National Security Concerns'

That economic glow faded sharply, however, after the U.S. Air Force weighed in. Fufeng USA is a subsidiary of "Fufeng Group Limited" based in China.

"We received a letter from the Air Force, saying that they have national security concerns, and at that point, the city took action to stop the project," Bochenski said.

The land at the heart of the controversy is around 370 acres in Grand Forks' agribusiness park. The Fufeng Group wanted to build a wet corn mill there.

The property is about 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Andrew Hunter wrote, "The proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area."

The Grand Forks Air Force Base is home to military activities involving both air and space operations.

Critics' Concerns

"As soon as the Air Force came out and made that announcement, I think everybody in the community was on board," State Rep. Jared Hagert (R-Emerado, North Dakota) told CBN News.

"And that's certainly where I was. I mean yeah I want to see the economic development, but if there is a risk of national security, I mean that's of the utmost importance," he continued.

Critics have raised concerns of espionage over allegations the Fufeng Group has direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party. U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota did not mince words during an interview on Newsmax.

"If you look at the CEO, the president of Fufeng is in fact a very active member of the CCP, and he's received high recognition for being a model member of the CCP," Cramer said. "So it's not just one sort of fringe element; this really is very intertwined."

While Fufeng officials deny the plant would be used for espionage, State Rep. Eric James Murphy (R-Grand Forks, North Dakota) had suspicions about the land purchase and supports the Air Force's assessment.

"I share their concern, right, I think the biggest thing is, you have to ask yourself, 'Why Grand Forks? Why not Fargo?' We're at the very northern edge of corn. Yeah, you get some corn, but the yield really starts going down the further north you go," Murphy shared with CBN News.

"There's some missions at our Air Force Base that aren't really publicized that are very, very, very, very important to our national security and are also very important to maintain the secrecy and the elements for them to be able to carry out those," he continued.

"And it's all in the communications world," Murphy added.

Addressing Foreign Land Ownership

State legislatures have considered measures to address foreign ownership of U.S. land, especially after the high-profile Chinese spy balloon flew over the country earlier this year. In April, North Dakota took action, passing a law banning adversary nations from owning land in the state.

"I think we have to be careful when we talk about foreign ownership, and so in North Dakota, we went to foreign adversaries, which is a federally defined list," explained Murphy.

"But we don't want to limit like countries like Canada; that's one of our biggest trade partners, especially for the state of North Dakota," State Sen. Scott Meyer (R-Grand Forks, North Dakota) told CBN News.

"So again, let's still work with our allies. Do I want them owning land? I think there's a reasonable discussion to be had with that," he continued.

"You're not seeing a whole lot of other countries come in and purchase this land, but China, Russia, Iran, those types of countries, I think we really should have issues with and never let them come into this area, buying some of our land," said Meyer.

Legislation Pushback

According to the Agriculture Department, Canada topped the list in 2021, owning 31 percent of all foreign-owned farming acreage.

As for China, not including the recent Fufeng Group purchase, the country owns nearly 384,000 acres, which amounts to about .9 percent of the total.

Still, lawmakers don't want that figure to grow. In a new bipartisan bill, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Debbie Stabenow are pushing back against Chinese acquisition of U.S. farmland.

Also on the federal level, a proposed rule change would require foreign citizens and companies to get U.S. government approval to purchase property within 100 miles of eight military bases, including the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

People in Grand Forks are happy about this strong pushback.

"So I have friends and family that are in the Guard and have been in the military, and I just really felt like I was grateful they stopped it because I felt like it was a significant security threat, and I just was glad somebody in leadership like stood up and said, 'No, we need to take care of our people here in the U.S.," Grand Forks resident Marissa Stoner shared with CBN News.

No comments: