Chinese Land Purchases Close To Military Bases Are Under Closer US Government Inspection

( – Chinese nationals have purchased land all over the country. They seem especially interested in properties around military bases. The federal government is now scrutinizing those purchases.

On July 8, the US Treasury Department proposed a new rule that would give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) the ability to block foreign land purchases located within a certain distance of a base. The committee would have the power to review real estate deals within 100 miles of 19 new military installations and one mile of 40 other military installations.

The Treasury Department said the change came after a long-term review of the committee’s jurisdiction. Officials claimed it wasn’t directed at investments from any specific country. Secretary Janet L. Yellen said the new rule will expand CFIUS’ “jurisdiction and ability to accomplish this vital mission.”

President Joe Biden’s administration gave a Chinese-linked company 120 days to sell a 12-acre site it purchased in 2022. The property lies a mile from Warren Air Force Base, the location of the US Minuteman III nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles. The company that bought the land was allegedly going to use it for a cryptocurrency mining project, but US officials were concerned about spying.

According to CFIUS, Chinese investors purchased 97 properties from 2020 to 2022. Texas has the largest Chinese holdings, at 159,640 acres, and North Carolina is next, at 44,776 acres. Orders like Biden’s that force foreign acquisitions are rare. There have only been eight similar orders since 1975, when President Gerald Ford was in office.

J. Philip Ludvigson, an attorney who specializes in national security risks related to foreign investments, told The New York Times the new rule is “significant” because it shows the “Department of Defense is taking a more aggressive posture” and trying to limit the risks posed by foreigners purchasing “property around military installations.”

States are also taking action. Florida passed a law that essentially bans Chinese nationals without US green cards from buying residential property.

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