Virginians, Not the CCP, Should Own ‘Rich and Vibrant’ Farmland: Gov. Youngkin

Virginians, Not the CCP, Should Own ‘Rich and Vibrant’ Farmland: Gov. Youngkin
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, here speaking in Smithfield, Va., in October 2022, is not on the commonwealth's 2023 ballot but his lobbying for a 15-week abortion ban puts him and abortion on voters' minds as they go to the polls in November in what is beiung called "the first election of 2024." (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued a video further asserting his stance that it’s unreasonable to let the state’s farmland fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Youngkin released a video on Jan. 31, after he blocked Virginia from being considered for the site of Ford Motor Company’s battery manufacturing plant due to national security concerns. The automaker has an ongoing agreement with Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) to supply batteries to Ford’s electric vehicles.
“Made in Virginia cannot be a front for the Chinese Communist Party,” Youngkin says in the video using clips from his Jan. 11 address to the General Assembly at the beginning of a new legislative session.

“Virginians, not the CCP, should own the rich and vibrant agricultural lands God has blessed us with,” he says.

“That is why I’m asking this General Assembly to send me a bill to prohibit dangerous foreign entities tied to the CCP from purchasing Virginia’s farmland. Friends, that’s common sense.”

Not featured in the video but said in his Jan. 11 address, Youngkin described the CCP as “a dictatorial political party that only has one goal: global dominance at the expense of the United States.”

During a Jan. 20 interview with Bloomberg, Youngkin called the Ford Motor plant deal with CATL a “Trojan horse.”

It would have potentially allowed the CCP to have full access to Ford’s technology, he said.

“I’d much rather have a good clean deal than one that’s embroiled in controversy and one that is going to promote the Chinese Communist Party,” Youngkin said.

“It won’t be one that uses kind of a Trojan horse relationship with the Chinese Communist Party in order to gain.”

Growing Concerns

Recent years have seen growing outcry over Chinese land acquisitions to build energy infrastructure or those located near U.S. military bases.

The chief concern is that such purchases could allow the CCP the ability to disrupt the country’s critical infrastructure and spy on defense facilities.

Chinese investors were the largest foreign buyer of U.S. real estate by dollar amount between March 2021 and March 2022, with $6 billion spent over the period, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Trump’s Promise

Former President Donald Trump has promised to ban Chinese nationals from buying U.S. farmland or other critical industries if he retakes the White House.

“China does not allow American companies to take over their critical infrastructure, and America should not allow China to take over our critical infrastructure,” he said in a Jan. 18 speech at Mar-a-Lago.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Trump also emphasized a need for “aggressive new restrictions on Chinese ownership of any vital infrastructure in the United States, including energy, technology, telecommunications, farmland, natural resources, medical supplies, and other strategic national assets.”

A similar countermeasure has been considered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his state.

“If you look at the Chinese Communist Party, they’ve been very active throughout the Western hemisphere in gobbling up land and investing in different things,” DeSantis said during a press conference on Jan. 10.

“And, you know, when they have interests that are opposed to ours, and you’ve seen how they’ve wielded their authority … it is not in the best interests of Florida to have the Chinese Communist Party owning farmland, owning land close to military bases,” said DeSantis who is a potential presidential rival for Trump.

Meanwhile, The U.S. Department of the Air Force presented its view on a Chinese corn mill project located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which is within 15 miles of a U.S. Air Force base that houses sensitive drone, satellite, and surveillance technology.
“While CFIUS [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] concluded that it did not have jurisdiction, the Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area,” wrote Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, to Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in a Jan. 27 letter.

As a result, Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski announced on Jan. 31 that he plans to stop the Chinese project.

Eva Fu, Terri Wu, and Andrew Thornebrooke contributed to this report.
Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.
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