Chinese Billionaire Buys Up Large Amounts of Land Close to the Southern Border
While everyone’s sights are fixed on the South China Sea, Taiwan, and movements in the Indo-Pacific region, agents of the Chinese Communist Party are subverting the US from within. The Chinese are not solely using conventional military means or 20th century strategies to undermine the US. They’re taking advantage of holes in the US immigration system and foreign investment regulations to project influence across America.
One of the most notable examples is a move by Chinese real estate magnate Sun Guangxin to purchase 140,000 acres in Texas close to Laughlin Air Force Base near the southern border with Mexico. Sun is a prominent Chinese businessman who has strong ties to the CCP.
According to Penny Starr of Breitbart News, Sun is “planning a wind farm on the property, meaning the operation could be connected to the electricity grid in the state.”
Devils River Conservancy initially made a stink about foreign investors gobbling up large quantities of American land in a manner that could potentially hurt the environment. However, when elected officials learned more about Sun and his plans, the conversation took a more national security focus.
“These wind farms affect our training routes and pose a severe risk to our national security,” declared Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a statement he sent to Forbes. “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated time and again they’re willing to invest billions of dollars to expand their espionage capabilities and their global reach, including through land purchase schemes near military bases.”
Additionally, former Texas Congressman Will Hurd penned an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle issuing a warning about Sun’s wind farm.
Lawmakers at both the state and federal have worked proactively to introduce legislation to address the potential threat certain foreign investments can have on US interests.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act into law in June to address this growing problem.
“As far as I know this is the first law of its kind by any state in the United States of America,” Abbott declared. Starr observed that this bill is “designed to prevent ‘hostile nations’ from accessing Texas’ electricity grid and other ‘critical infrastructure,’ such as computer networks and waste treatment systems.”
Cruz introduced the Protecting Military Installations and Ranges Act of 2021. This bill would require the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to give extra emphasis on reviewing “any purchase or lease of real estate near a military installation or military airspace in the United States by a foreign person connected to or subsidized by” countries such as China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea.
A Forbes report by John Hyatt gave a summary on Sun’s rise to prominence:
Sun’s path — from obscure origins, to billionaire industrialist, to the crosshairs of Texas lawmakers — was fueled by the transformation of China’s economy over the past 30 years. Born the son of a farmer in 1962, just a few years before the start of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Sun served in the People’s Liberation Army as a teenager and saw active combat in the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war, rising to the rank of captain, according to English and Chinese language news stories, and the book Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang by Georgetown professor James A. Millward.
After leaving the army in the late 1980s, Sun opened the first fresh seafood restaurant in Ürümqi, the capital of China’s northwestern Xinjiang province. The eatery was a novelty in the landlocked city—and it gave Sun a venue to hobnob with businessmen and party officials. He reportedly then opened other novel attractions in Ürümqi: The city’s first karaoke bar, disco and bowling alley. In 1989, he incorporated Xinjiang Guanghui Industry Investment Group (Guanghui), whose first major venture was importing oil drilling equipment from the collapsing Soviet Union and selling it to state-owned Chinese firms. By 1994, Guanghui was selling construction materials and developing real estate. By the early 2000s, Sun controlled 60 percent of all real estate in Ürümqi and had acquired dozens of state-owned firms, more than any other private enterprise in China, according to Millward’s book.
Hyatt continued providing details about some of Sun’s investment plans:
Today, Sun’s company, Guanghui, is a sprawling conglomerate that generated over $29 billion in revenue last year and employs more than 108,000 people. Forbes estimates Sun’s net worth to be $2.1 billion. Sun incorporated GH America Investments Group in the United States in 2015. Under the GH umbrella are subsidiaries like GH PacVest, which owns commercial real estate in California; GHA Barnett, the owner of 41 wells producing natural gas in Texas’ Barnett Shale; and Brazos Highland Properties LP, the entity Sun used to acquire land in Val Verde County, including a ranch where he likes to vacation and go hunting—his first purchase in the area—according to GH America’s spokesman. Through Brazos and another subsidiary, Harvest Texas LLC, Sun controls nearly 7% of all land in Val Verde County.
Instead of nation-building abroad or trying to provoke China in its own geopolitical backyard, the US needs to secure its own perimeter and keep Chinese influence out by severely restricting legal immigration and investment from China. A strong national defense starts with an America First immigration policy.