The Spy Balloon May Be the Least of Our Worries When It Comes to China

The Chinese spy balloon may be the least of our worries when it comes to China. Ownership of U.S. farmland by Chinese nationals has skyrocketed in the last decade. It now amounts to 338,000 acres as of 2020, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data.

Chinese nationals have reportedly purchased 75,000 acres of U.S. farmland since 2010, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data obtained by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). 

There have been warnings from U.S. government officials saying that the Chinese government may seek to use the land for military and espionage purposes, according to the WSJ. 

“South Dakota is now the only home of the B-21 Bomber,” South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem said on Friday. “That’s huge for both our state’s economy and our national security, but it also means that hostile countries like China are going to do whatever they can to get intelligence on that bomber.”

The governor noted that last year they had a Chinese entity purchase land near the Air Force Base in North Dakota. They claimed it was for corn processing, but there is just not enough corn nearby to justify the facility. 

The mayor of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Brandon Bochenski, was in favor of selling the land at first, but then he got a letter from the U.S. Air Force which identified the project as a counterintelligence threat, given its proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Now Grand Forks has denied the building permits. 

Similarly, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act in June 2022. This legislation prohibits Texas businesses from entering into agreements related to “critical infrastructure” with companies owned by Chinese citizens. 

U.S. officials also reportedly stopped a 2017 Chinese government proposal to build a $100 million garden at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

Authorities reportedly determined that the project’s proposed location presented a surveillance threat, because the location was so close to the capital.