China’s agricultural espionage should be taken very seriously, especially as the communist country plots a possible invasion of Taiwan, says GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher.
Gallagher, chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, leads a roundtable in Dysart, Iowa, on Thursday to discuss the rise of agricultural technology theft by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with local farmers and stakeholders.
“I want to hear from Iowa farmers and other stakeholders about the impact of the Chinese Communist Party’s vicious tactics to undermine American agriculture,” Gallagher told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview ahead of the event. .
He pointed to an incident in 2011, when an Iowa field manager spotted a man digging in his fields, which were planted with “special” seeds from DuPont Pioneer.
Chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, Mike Gallagher, sent letters obtained by DailyMail.com to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and University President Alfred Mark Zupan
The FBI then got involved and discovered that there was a huge Chinese “seed smuggling ring” and the man was identified as Chinese national Mo Hailong. The Justice Department eventually sentenced Hailong to prison in 2016 for conspiracy to steal trade secrets.
“We’ve now had a series of high-profile economic espionage incidents dating back to at least 2011,” said Gallagher, R-Wis.
He said economic espionage charges require proof that the activities “are intended to benefit a foreign government or foreign agent, in this case, the CCP.”
The president hopes to speak to farmers about their perception of the CCP’s threat level and then “find out” why the CCP continues to do so.
He said he saw it as part of a ‘wider effort’ to tackle China’s ‘food insecurity’ as it prepares for potential conflict with the West, which must be taken very seriously.
Ranking members Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, also participate in the roundtable on Thursday afternoon.
“In Iowa, our land is sacred. Feeding and feeding the world is embedded in who we are,’ Hinson told DailyMail.com
“We cannot allow the CCP to continue stealing our intellectual property, buying our farmland, and ripping off our farmers and rural manufacturers. Today, the Select Committee will go straight to the source and hear from the farmers of Iowa so that we can produce meaningful bipartisan policies to protect American agriculture from the CCP’s underhanded tactics.
Gallagher is particularly concerned about how China is buying up farmland near key US military bases as a way to “spy” on US tactical operations.
He said China had tried to buy land near Travis Air Force Base in northern California, which is a ‘critical hub for military logistics’ that would be ‘essential’ to US capability. to power the Indo-Pacific “if we find ourselves in a confrontation with China, over Taiwan.
The president is proposing a bipartisan bill that would protect US farmland and sensitive sites — including military bases — from threat from adversaries.
Gallagher said that for some countries, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela, there would be a “presumption of denial of purchase”.
The Senate recently passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of fiscal year 2024 that would prohibit China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from buying American farmland.
Chinese President Xi Jinping
Two Fufeng Group employees visit Grand Fork, ND, during a site visit prior to the company’s purchase of 300 acres of farmland
The legislation was brought forward following the 2022 purchase by Chinese company Fufeng Group of 300 acres of farmland in North Dakota near a US Air Force base.
After the Fufeng Group bought the North Dakota land for $2.6 million, Air Force Maj. Jeremy Fox wrote a memo in April describing the move as emblematic of Chinese efforts to install near sensitive US defense installations.
Regarding the next steps his committee plans to take once Congress returns to Washington, D.C., after the August recess, the president said he hopes to conclude a series of competition policy recommendations. of the United States with China.
“We hope to have a series of policies, approvals and recommendations related to economic policy and economic and technological competition” completed by the end of the year.
And he’s ready to sprint to the finish in order to “get as many good, solid, strong bipartisan recommendations as possible.”