(TheProudRepublic.com) – The recent revelation that Chen Tianqiao, a member of the Chinese Communist Party and co-founder of Shanda Interactive Entertainment, purchased a vast tract of U.S. farmland in 2015 has sparked deep concerns among U.S. lawmakers.
The acquisition, which involved approximately 198,000 acres of Oregon land for $85 million (about $430 per acre), was made through Whitefish Cascade Forest Resources LLC, an investment vehicle. This information was disclosed in Land Report magazine and reported by the New York Post.
According to Land Report magazine, “In 2015, Tianqiao Chen acquired nearly 200,000 acres of former Crown Pacific timberlands in Oregon from Fidelity National Financial Ventures for $85 million ($430 per acre). Chen did so via the investment vehicle Whitefish Cascade Forest Resources LLC. In December 2023, Oregon tax records revealed that the 198,000-acre block was currently owned by Shanda Asset Management LLC.”
However, Chen’s purchase seemingly went unnoticed in the government records of land ownership by foreign investors, as reported by the Daily Mail. This incident underscores potential gaps in the monitoring of foreign land acquisitions in the U.S.
As of October, the Department of Agriculture estimated that Chinese entities owned about 400,000 acres of U.S. farmland, worth over $2 billion.
This figure, though a small fraction of the total foreign-owned farmland in the U.S., is alarming to lawmakers due to its rapid growth over the past decade and rising tensions between the U.S. and China.
The issue is compounded by outdated and inadequate reporting systems for foreign land ownership, as highlighted by Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. She noted that the lack of thorough auditing at both state and federal levels leads to incomplete information and numerous unanswered questions regarding the extent of the risk.
Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York criticized the Biden administration for its handling of the situation, stating that the administration has “dropped the ball” in addressing the issue of foreign adversaries, particularly China, acquiring American farmland.
She expressed her concerns about the implications of such purchases, suggesting that they could undermine U.S. sovereignty, negatively impact the agriculture industry, and pose threats to military installations and rural communities.
This situation is further complicated by reports of a significant increase in Chinese nationals attempting to cross the southern U.S. border.
A CNN report highlighted that around 31,000 Chinese nationals were stopped by law enforcement at the border in the past 11 months, a sharp increase from the annual average of approximately 1,500 over the previous decade.
Most of these individuals are reportedly seeking to escape China’s oppressive communist regime. A NewsNation report last month also noted that the majority of these individuals are single adult males.