On August 2, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) introduced a bill with the aim of preventing members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from purchasing any land in the United States.
The bill, Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act, comes months after a similar bill (H.R.7892) was introduced into Congress on May 27, 2022, by Rep. Dan Newhouse, entitled Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act.
Cotton’s and Tuberville’s bill is, in part, a response to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2020 indicating that “foreign persons held an interest in nearly 37.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land.” They note in their announcement that “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 owned.”
Chinese entities have acquired immense swaths of American soil and are poised to continue doing so. “Millions of acres in U.S. farmland are expected to change hands in the next decade.”
Whereas in 2010, China had invested in 13,720 acres of U.S. land, “by the end of 2020, the number had risen to 194,179 acres,” leaving China with a total of 352,140 acres of American land.
“Chinese investments in American farmland put our food security at risk,” said Cotton. Furthermore, these investments “provide opportunities for Chinese espionage against our military bases and critical infrastructure.”
Besides farmland, Chinese entities also bought $6.1 billion in U.S. real estate in 2022, according to the National Association of Realtors, and constituted 6% of foreign buyers.
Tuberville emphasized the strategic importance of keeping out the CCP. “We cannot continue giving our top adversary a foot in the door to purchase land in the United States and undermine our national security.”
The relationship between Beijing and Washington is particularly adversarial at the moment, underlining the potential security risk of the possession of American land by Chinese communists. The CCP has recently targeted the United States with a great deal more violent rhetoric than usual, largely because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the Republic of Taiwan.
Communist Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “If Pelosi insists on visiting Taiwan, China will take resolute and strong measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” going on to say that “those who play with fire will perish by it … we are prepared for any eventuality and the PLA will never sit idly by.”
The Heritage Foundation suggested that the next step to take would be ensuring the CCP cannot interfere in American politics.