U.S. Govt. Sounds the Alarm on Chinese Land Grabs

(BrightPress.org) – Amid growing concerns about national security, state and federal governments are focusing on real estate purchases near military bases by foreign nationals, particularly those from China.

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, a small town known for its cowboy culture, there are worries about geopolitical espionage. Recently, the Biden administration shut down MineOne Partners Ltd., a firm mainly owned by Chinese nationals. This firm had bought a 12-acre site just a mile from Warren Air Force Base, which houses Minuteman III nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The crypto mining site, allegedly using high-powered computers to mine Bitcoin, was discovered after a public tip-off. This incident has increased federal scrutiny on land acquisitions by Chinese nationals near key infrastructure. From 2020 to 2022, Chinese investors led foreign nationals in land transactions, making 97 acquisitions according to a 2022 report by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS).

States with significant Chinese land holdings include Texas (159,640 acres), North Carolina (44,776 acres), Missouri (43,071 acres), Utah (32,447 acres), and Virginia (14,382 acres), as noted in the USDA’s latest report. Most of these lands are owned by a few Chinese investors, raising national security concerns.

Federal legislative efforts to restrict such land purchases have yet to succeed. Presidential orders like the one targeting MineOne Partners are rare, with only eight issued since 1975. In January, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified weaknesses in tracking potentially threatening land purchases, including poor interagency coordination and outdated data collection methods.

In response to these threats, President Biden has expanded CFIUS’s scope to include a broader range of foreign purchases impacting U.S. supply chains and artificial intelligence. These measures aim to prevent potential espionage and infrastructure sabotage.

States are also taking independent action. Nearly half have enacted laws restricting foreign ownership of agricultural land. Indiana and Georgia recently banned foreign adversaries from purchasing land near military facilities, while South Dakota has prohibited land ownership by governments and entities from countries like China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.

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