Arkansas Takes Bold Stand Against Chinese Ownership Of U.S. Land Amid National Security Concerns

Written By BlabberBuzz | Thursday, 19 October 2023 14:30
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In an unprecedented move, Arkansas has become the first U.S. state to mandate a Chinese firm to forfeit its local land ownership, amid escalating concerns over Beijing's potential malicious infiltration and influence on the U.S.

On Tuesday, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared that she was instructing Syngenta, a Switzerland-based agricultural chemicals producer, to surrender its 160-acre landholdings in northeastern Arkansas. She accused the company, which was bought by the state-owned China National Chemical Corporation in 2017, of "posing a clear threat to our state."

"Seeds are technology," Sanders stated at a press conference. "Chinese state-owned corporations filter that technology back to their homeland, stealing American research and telling our enemies how to target American farms. That is a clear threat to our national security."

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The U.S. has been increasingly wary of China's influence on its economy, particularly in the farming industry. In August, a bipartisan Congressional delegation hosted a roundtable in Dysart, Iowa, where farmers accused the Chinese state of pilfering samples of genetically enhanced seeds, sometimes directly from the field, to replicate them in China.

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The delegation referenced a 2012 incident where a Dysart farmer noticed a man in business attire excavating hybrid seeds, which were subsequently sent back to China. Mo Hailong was later apprehended by the FBI for stealing U.S. agriculture trade secrets and was convicted of various crimes related to the long-term conspiracy in 2016.

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The FBI estimates that Chinese intellectual property theft costs the U.S. economy between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, labeling the East Asian nation as the world's "principal" violator of proprietary knowledge.

In 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed that the agency had witnessed a roughly 1,300 percent surge in economic espionage cases linked to China.

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Sanders highlighted that Beijing implemented a law in 2017 obliging Chinese nationals residing abroad to collaborate with its intelligence apparatus. "This is not about where you come from," she clarified. "We welcome Chinese Americans."

Official data indicates that Chinese investment in U.S. land constitutes less than 1 percent of land under foreign ownership.

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Earlier this year, national security apprehensions were sparked over a land parcel 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force base in North Dakota, owned by the Binzhou-based Fufeng Group. The company intended to construct a wet corn milling plant on the site. Subsequently, questions arose about a mysteriously owned company that managed to purchase land bordering Travis Air Force Base in California.

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Several recent legislative attempts have been made to restrict Chinese ownership of U.S. soil. In May, Florida enacted a new law prohibiting Chinese nationals from purchasing land within a 5-mile radius of the state's military installations.

"Other states should follow suit and refuse to let the Chinese Communists own American land," Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas wrote on X, responding to Sanders' announcement.

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