It appears that the second largest foreign land owner in America is a communist Chinese with ties to Mao Zedong.
The Land Report is a magazine that tracks the private landownership of the U.S. It recently published its report on the 100 top landowners. According to the report, Chinese billionaire Tianqiao Chen ranks 82nd in total.
Chen, who is originally from Zhejiang Province in China, was on the list after he purchased 198,000 acres in Oregon for $85,000,000 in 2015 from Fidelity National Ventures. State tax records showed that Chen’s Shanda Asset Management LLC owned the property as of last month.
Bloomberg reported that Chen’s landholdings are only surpassed by the Irving family from Canada who own 1.2 million acres of Maine.
Chen, in addition to acquiring vast tracts of land in the northwestern United States, has also purchased valuable properties in Los Angeles and Manhattan. He bought the Seeley-Mudd Estate for $25 million as well as the Vanderbilt Mansion for $39 million.
The Land Report reported that Chen and wife had also invested $115 million in Caltech. This gave them access to a three-story, 150,000-square-foot facility on campus bearing their names on the side.
According to The Daily Caller, a review by Chinese-language media revealed that Chen has many links with the Chinese communist government. He is a member and has been a CCP member since 1991.
The Beijing Review reported that Chen was a fan of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong is the communist leader responsible for an estimated 65,000,000 Chinese deaths. China News Services revealed that Chen’s favorite Mao quotation is: “Strategically, we should despise our enemies but tactically, we should take all of them seriously.”
Former CIA officer Peter Mattis says Chen isn’t a passive CCP, but an ostensible CCP insider. He served as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a group that brings together “all relevant actors within and outside the Party.”
Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., responded to the Daily Caller report by writing on X: “I am deeply concerned that Chinese Communist Party-affiliated individuals are buying Oregon timberland.”
China, America’s most formidable adversary in the world, has been buying up American land at an increasing rate over the last decade. In 2011, Chinese investors controlled 69,295 acre of American land. By year-end 2021 they will reportedly control nearly 400,000 acres. This includes land near the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Chavez-DeRemer said she was proud to be a co-sponsor of proposals that would prevent foreigners from purchasing certain tracts. The “Stop China’s Continuous Purchase Land Act” introduced in July 2023 would prohibit states from receiving federal funds unless they have laws in place restricting the sale of agricultural land to Chinese nationals.
The congresswoman said to the Daily Caller “Foreign ownership is a serious issue which has caused unease among farmers and ranchers in the United States.”
Some states have taken steps to reduce the risk that individuals and organizations with ties in opposing nations could own their assets.
Missouri Republican Gov. Michael Parson issued an executive order the week before last that prohibited “individuals or businesses from nations designated by the United States as foreign adversaries” from buying agricultural land within 10 miles of military installations in Missouri. China was included in the list of nations that were deemed to be adversaries.
Missouri had already passed a law stating that foreign purchases of agricultural land could not exceed 1 percent of all farmland within the state.
Parson said that when it comes to China and other foreign enemies, we need to take precautions to protect Missourians as well as our security resources.
In October, we reported that Arkansas had passed a law banning China and all other foreign entities from owning any land. Florida, Virginia, and North Dakota are just a few of the states that have passed similar legislation over the past years to ensure that American land cannot be taken by enemies.