Texas state Rep. Gene Wu, along with more than a dozen fellow Democratic lawmakers, has decried state legislation proposed by a GOP lawmaker that would ban the sale of land to Chinese citizens, governments, and other entities.
The China-born Houston Democrat held a photo of the Houston home where he grew up, adding that he would not be here if SB 147 were law. His family immigrated to the United States in the 1980s.
“Just as I have told my own community, the Asian community, we need to be supportive of other groups because one day they will come for you,” Wu said. “And here we are.”
Democrat state Rep. Salman Bhojani, who immigrated to the United States from Pakistan when he was 19, called the legislation “troubling.”
“SB 147 = ASIAN HATE,” read one of the signs carried by an attendee.
About SB 147In November, Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst pre-filed SB 147, which would ban citizens, governments, and entities from China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia from buying real property in the state of Texas.
Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott signaled his support for the legislation if it passes.
“And we have a goal here, and that’s to prevent countries that are hostile to the interest of the United States from being able to buy up our farmland or other land that’s so important to us,” Abbott said, adding that SB 147 would not impact those “who are citizens or intend to be citizens of the United States.”
Building on Previous LegislationKolkhorst’s bill mirrors and builds on SB 2116, known as the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act, which the Republican governor signed into law during the 87th Legislative session in 2021. The law prohibits Texas businesses and government officials from making infrastructure deals with China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
The 2021 legislation, which passed unanimously, was filed in response to the purchase of roughly 140,000 acres near Laughlin Air Force base in Del Rio by Chinese billionaire Sun Guangxin. The Xinjang-based real estate tycoon spent an estimated $110 million to build a wind farm in Val Verde County, near the Texas-Mexico border. The law took effect immediately after it was signed on June 18, 2021.
Wu voted in favor of SB 2116.