by Zero Hedge
Don’t mess with Texas. Chip Roy, a Republican representative to Congress from the 21st District, including parts of Austin and San Antonio, is taking on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in a big, Texan, way. Chip proposes to ban CCP members from purchasing land in America. It’s a short, sweet, and brilliantly-cutting edge bill that should be voted into law ASAP.
This two-page bill has a potent engine of a single sentence: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President shall take such actions as may be necessary to prohibit the purchase of public or private real estate located in the United States by members of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Rep. Roy’s press release to accompany the bill pulls no punches. “In their quest for global domination, China has been buying up land and strategic infrastructure all over the world and in the United States,” it reads. “Direct Chinese investment in the U.S. economy is a major threat to the American way of life and requires that we take serious action to thwart the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from ever seizing control of strategically valuable domestic assets in the U.S.”
The bill is called the “Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act.” According to Rep. Roy’s press release, “Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that foreign investors control nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland, roughly the size of Ohio. Texas has the second highest amount of foreign ownership with 3 million acres under foreign control.”
The press release notes that a China-based energy company bought over 130,000 acres in Texas, near an Air Force base, and “is now attempting to build a wind farm to access the U.S. power grid.”
Roy’s office notes that China is the second-largest foreign owner of land in Australia, including an Australian island that is now off-limits to Australian residents. China leased an airport in Australia for 100 years, and now “China owns the airspace and Australian citizens can’t land in their own country without approval from the Chinese government.”
Kyle Bass, the billionaire Texan who has long criticized the CCP, and shorted currencies from China and Hong Kong, supports the bill. He emailed, “The Communist Party of China exploits every nook and cranny of our open society to achieve their goal of primacy over the U.S. Allowing strategic purchases of land and improvements by CPC members here in the United States presents clear and present dangers to U.S. national security.”
Bass asked a series of tough questions related to the ownership of land by CCP members. “How many purchases have proximity to U.S. military bases? How many direct connections to the U.S. power grid do they already have control over? How many of these purchases are on farms where they are stealing valuable genetic seeds to ship back to the mainland? Why have we allowed a Chinese company to acquire one of the largest poultry producers in America?”
He appealed to the principle of reciprocity, supported by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) last November, with respect to land sales to CCP members. “China doesn’t allow former U.S. military officers to acquire 200 square miles of land between an active Chinese military base and their border with Taiwan…so why should the U.S. allow such strategic purchases by Chinese nationals?”
There are a couple arguments that detractors will throw against Roy’s CCP land bill. First, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) already reviews some land purchases by Chinese nationals (including CCP members). So, CFIUS can cancel any sales that have national security implications. CCP investment in non-strategic land, say in the middle of Nowheresville, United States, provides an economic hostage of sorts. For example, if the U.S. government needs to confiscate CCP property in the United States as compensation for economic damages from COVID-19, it would be useful to have CCP property in the United States available for the taking. The more property the CCP keeps in the United States, the less willing it should be to risk expropriation of that property by harming America.
However, given the magnitude of damages owed by China, which are at least $19 trillion globally, the quantity of land that the CCP is purchasing is too negligible to make a difference. But it could make a difference if strategically located, or if it provides a foothold for political influence, espionage, or elite capture.
The second major argument against the bill is that it will remind detractors of the Alien land laws of the late 19th century, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the Immigration Act of 1790, amended in 1875, along with other such laws. Many argue that these laws were racist. For example, one law of 1923 targeted the land ownership of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent. A 1921 law in Washington that targeted Japanese went to the Supreme Court, was upheld, and caused diplomatic tensions with Japan. Some laws were targeted at new Asian immigrants, but not new Scandinavian immigrants.
These types of argument, however, can conflate patriotic support for American democracy and anti-communism with racism, or reject the sovereign right of a nation to control immigration. They typically fail to account for the growing military, economic, and diplomatic power of 21st-century China, or its totalitarian characteristics under the rule of the CCP. The China of today is not the China of the 19th century, nor is it the Japan of the 1920s.
Today, China is communist, territorially aggressive, promoting its political influence globally, and threatening elite capture in nations small and large. The CCP today enables the destruction of political, cultural, and linguistic diversity on a domestic and global level, including through its genocide against the Uyghurs. The CCP leads that genocide.
The bill proposed by Chip Roy, therefore, is the right bill for 2021. But it will need a lot more support to become law. Bass noted, “For the bill to be powerful, I believe it needs Democratic sponsors and Republican sponsors alike.”
That’s exactly right. Three representatives who have done the right thing to introduce the bill with Rep. Roy are Reps. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), and Randy Weber (R-Texas).
Where are the Democrats? Where is the Republican leadership? Where is, at the very least, rhetorical support for reciprocity with China on the issue of land ownership?
America’s failure to act decisively against the threat of the CCP, if such indecision continues, will be its own undoing.
Chip Roy’s bill is decisive. It is a corrective.
With the introduction of this bill, Roy is putting the heat on not only the CCP, but other members of Congress. Who is going to step up to the plate, buck the naysayers, and do the right thing to co-sponsor this bill? How much longer will American politicians of both parties allow China to walk all over us?