While a number of prominent Americans have expressed concerns about Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ purchase of wide swaths of U.S. farmland, others argue a bigger threat could be coming from China.
In a recent report compiled by the Daily Caller New Foundation, Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao, the CEO of a global investment firm called Shanda Group, was identified as the second-largest foreign owner of American land, fueling speculation regarding what he, his company or China’s communist government might be planning.
About 33,000 acres of the land Chen reportedly owns is located across the Bull Springs Skyline Forest in Oregon, which, in addition to an array of wildlife and freshwater springs, is home to a massive supply of timber.
I’m deeply concerned that individuals tied to the Chinese Communist Party are buying up Oregon timberland.
I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of two proposals that seek to prevent competitors and adversaries of the U.S. from purchasing our valuable land! https://t.co/OzjQDCQBTr
— Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (@RepLCD) January 11, 2024
The Chinese national has also scooped up property in and around some of America’s biggest cities, including New York City’s Vanderbilt mansion and the Seeley Mudd Estate located near Los Angeles, California. Furthermore, Chen reportedly owns a massive facility on the premises of the California Institute of Technology.
All of these purchases, along with Chen’s close connections with the Chinese Communist Party, have prompted lawmakers to expedite their push to limit the ability of foreign investors — particularly from adversarial nations — to buy large sections of U.S. land.
Some efforts were already underway prior to the latest revelations, with certain limitations being pursued in Missouri and Florida.
For his part, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed his misgivings about China’s broader intentions.
“One of the Chinese Communist Party’s goals is to undermine and weaken America,” he declared. “This includes instances where our greatest adversary continues to buy land — whether farmland or near our installations.”
In light of the revelations about Chen’s land purchases in her home state, U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) signaled her support for new legislation to prevent such potentially dangerous foreign acquisitions.
She affirmed that she was “deeply concerned that individuals tied to the Chinese Communist Party are buying up timberland, which is one of our most precious and finite sources,” adding: “Foreign ownership of United States lands is a serious problem that has rightfully sparked unease among farmers, ranchers and foresters across the country.”