Sen. Cotton Introduces Measure to Prevent CCP From Buying U.S. Farmland

Last week U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R — Ark.) introduced legislation to prevent members of the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing farmland in the United States.

According to a USDA report, approximately 1.1 million acres of agricultural land in Arkansas is foreign held — mostly from Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Arkansas Act 1046 of 2021 generally requires foreign landowners to file reports with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

As we have written before, the Chinese Communist Party has blocked internet access for its people, caused food shortages in its own country, engaged in espionage, allegedly tried to influence public policy in America, and imposed forced abortions and sterilizations on minorities. With that in mind, it is concerning to many Americans that the Chinese Communist Party might try to purchase and control farmland in the U.S.

Below is a copy of a press release from U.S. Sen. Cotton’s office about the legislation.

Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) today introduced the Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act to prohibit members of the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing any land in the United States. Text of the bill may be found here.

“Chinese investments in American farmland put our food security at risk and provide opportunities for Chinese espionage against our military bases and critical infrastructure. Instead of allowing these purchases, the U.S. government must bar the Communist Party from purchasing our land,” said Cotton.

“We cannot continue giving our top adversary a foot in the door to purchase land in the United States and undermine our national security,” said Tuberville. “I hope my colleagues will recognize the importance of our bill and join the effort to prohibit Chinese Communist Party involvement in America’s agriculture industry.”

Background:

•                    China’s agricultural investments in countries around the globe grew more than tenfold from 2009 to 2016. China’s Ministry of Agriculture claims the country had over 1,300 agricultural, forestry, and fisheries enterprises with registered overseas investments of $26 billion, at the end of 2016.

•                    Chinese investments in U.S. agricultural may provide the CCP with undue leverage over U.S. supply chains and access to sensitive information critical to U.S. national security.

•                    While Chinese entities held slightly less than one percent of all foreign-held acres in the U.S. in 2020, the volume of their holdings increased dramatically over the last decade. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land surged from 13,720 acres in 2010 to 352,140 acres in 2020.

•                    The USDA’s most recent report on foreign landholding through December 31, 2020 shows foreign investors now hold an interest in nearly 37.6 million acres of agricultural land in the U.S.—an area larger than the state of Iowa.

•                    Approximately 14 states have some level of foreign ownership restriction yet there are no federal restrictions on the amount of private U.S. agricultural land that can be foreign owned.

•                    Land grabbing by foreign actors will become a greater threat in the coming years. With an aging population of American farmers (one-third over the age of 65), millions of acres in U.S. farmland are expected to change hands in the next decade.

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Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

The Great Firewall of China

“For many years, the internet in China was seen as a channel for new thinking, or at least greater openness,” writes Human Rights Watch researcher Yaqiu Wang. “Online discussions were relatively free and open, and users, especially younger ones, had an eager appetite for learning and debating big ideas about political systems and how China should be governed.”   

That changed when Xi Jinping took power. Explaining what’s known as China’s “Great Firewall,” Wang notes, “the government got savvier, and more aggressive about using its own technology.” For example, dissidents, journalists, and public figures disappear frequently, sometimes often for minor infractions like logging onto Twitter. 

The state’s actions have created “a generational split,” says Wang. “[T]hose who experienced a relatively free internet as young people—many strongly resent the Great Firewall. Among people who started college after Xi took power, however, there is a strong impulse to defend it.” 

It’s an extreme example of how tools intended and used for good can also be harnessed for evil. The same resource that can promote flourishing can also promote tyranny. That’s true everywhere, not just China.

Copyright 2022 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.