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Heritage Foundation exposes China land grab

Published in Blog on May 10, 2024 by Jakob Fay

Distinguished conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, published a troubling report this week exposing the extensive national security threat “stemming from Chinese-owned real estate in the United States,” urging state governments to resist the Chinese Communist Party’s bid to buy American land. Author, scholar, and Senior Policy Advisor Bryan Burack noted that many of these efforts are spearheaded by the grassroots.

“The threat posed by Chinese entities purchasing real estate in the U.S. is real,” he wrote. “Enacting prohibitions, and strengthening existing prohibitions, on real estate sales to foreign adversaries is overdue. Efforts to protect the United States’ natural resources are driven by grassroots responses to specific national security failures, and state-level restrictions on foreign real estate ownership are far from novel legal innovations. Twenty-four states already regulate foreign land purchases, with some states doing so in the text of their constitutions.”

SEE ALSO: Meet Neville Roy Singham, the Chinese/Marxist Millionaire Sowing Seeds of Chaos in American Society

According to Burack, while critics tend to focus on the problem of Chinese-controlled farmland, the threat is much broader than that, and the U.S. is dangerously inept in overseeing the situation.

“The United States currently has no system for broadly monitoring Chinese ownership of U.S. real estate,” he claimed.

Forbes reports that Chinese investors have ranked as the foremost foreign purchasers of U.S. real estate since 2013, a trend that persisted even during the 2020 global pandemic. Notably, these numbers surveil the sale of any land—not just agricultural property. However, even Chinese agricultural acreage has quintupled since 2011, contributing massively to the wide-ranging issue.

“In the United States,” warned Burack, “Chinese-owned agricultural land is heavily concentrated in certain places and owners, based on what is known from AFIDA (Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act) data.” For instance, “Sun Guangxin, a Chinese billionaire and former People’s Liberation Army officer from Xinjiang, owns about 40 percent of Chinese-owned agricultural land in the United States reported under AFIDA, primarily in Texas’s Val Verde County.”

In 2021, in response to Guangxin’s Val Verde County takeover, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act—“the first law of its kind by any state in the United States of America,” he said. The bill, which barred Texas businesses and governmental bodies from “contracting with entities owned or controlled by individuals from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran,” aimed to counter Guangxin, particularly due to his connections with the CCP.

“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated time and again they’re willing to invest billions of dollars to expand their espionage capabilities and their global reach, including through land purchase schemes near military bases,” said U.S. Senator Ted Crus in response.

SEE ALSO: State lawmakers vote to stop China from buying farmland

As Convention of States recently reported, China is strategically aiming to supplant the United States as the foremost leader in the international order. Instead of direct attacks on America, however, China utilizes tactics such as subterfuge, espionage, and the deliberate propagation of social chaos to achieve its objectives. Burack insinuates that the extensive acquisition of American properties may serve as one of these strategic maneuvers.

Fortunately, the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act offers a framework for state-led initiatives to combat the CCP’s insidious warfare. As highlighted by The Heritage Foundation, numerous states have followed suit by implementing similar measures.

“The reforms that are being enacted and contemplated in the U.S. Congress and in state houses nationwide are laudable efforts to update an existing system of federal and state security provisions to keep pace with growing threats from the CCP and other malign actors,” concluded Burack. “Properly calibrated, such tools can address current and future threats while protecting the private property rights that underlie the United States’ vitality. As China presents the United States’ greatest national security threat and has a history of particular threats to real estate and agricultural land, measures to counter those threats must be a priority.”

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