Mark Figley: Don’t sell our land to China

Although the United States has long been the world’s most dominant economic and military power, it’s no secret that China’s grand plan is to fully exceed America by 2049. And Beijing is doing so under our very noses.

From 2010-2020, the Chinese Communist Party purchased 352,140 acres of U.S. land, with the practice continuing today. Sens. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., recently introduced the “Securing America’s Land From Foreign Interference Act” to stop those such as China (and Iran, Russia and North Korea) from similar purchases based upon the clear threat to America’s national security.

To prove the point, Chinese food manufacturer Fufeng Group has purchased farmland a mere 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. This installation houses our most sophisticated military drone technology. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s not enough that for years China has actively stolen U.S. intellectual property and hacked our computer networks in search of other innovative scientific research and technology. Does anyone seriously doubt China’s intention to surveil and eavesdrop on the Grand Forks base to learn what it can? The rather obvious question would be just who is minding America’s national security store?

The Fufeng Group reportedly plans to use the land to build a $700 million corn milling plant that would create at least 200 jobs. But when it comes to China, there is no differentiation between the government and business. They function as one. As U.S. Air Force Major Jeremy Fox said, “Some of the most sensitive elements of Grand Forks exist with digital uplinks and downlinks inherent with unmanned air systems and their interaction with space-based assets. A Chinese entity with close proximity to such data would present a costly national security risk to the United States.”

Meanwhile, the president of Fufeng, Li Xuechun, is active in the CCP and has been referred to as a “model laborer.”

In July 2022, the National Association of Realtors listed China as the third-largest foreign purchaser of American land, spending $6.1 billion in 2021. It also made up 2% of Florida land purchases over the same period.

According to a report from the U.S. Agriculture Departments Economic Research Service, Chinese assets in the U.S. have increased ten-fold over the past decade. And during the same time period, China has similarly invested trillions of dollars in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.

China would love to control U.S. food production, as its 294 million acres of arable land is shrinking, while the United States more sizeable arable acreage of 375 million feeds a much smaller population. Beijing is increasingly seeking to reduce its imports of soybeans and corn as well as investing in U.S. land, agricultural seeds and livestock. Beijing understands that food security is national security, and a nation at the mercy of a prime adversary for food puts itself at serious risk to survive.

A prime example of this occurred during the height of the COVID pandemic, when Virginia’s Smithfield Foods made sure that China received all the pork it needed as American grocers ran short. This happened because Smithfield, the biggest pork processor and hog producer in the world, was purchased by Chinese billionaire Wan Long in 2013. By permitting China to control our farmland and food supply chain, Beijing wins and America loses.

A Chinese spokesperson commenting on the Fufeng purchase said, “China always opposes the U.S. generalization of the concept of national security and abuse of state power.”

Of course it does! And while U.S. wokeism has made discussion of China’s Wuhan lab as the source of COVID taboo, it has similarly disregarded tried-and-true concepts like maintaining American strength and national security in exchange for greasing the skids of our own destruction.

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.