In July, a vast parcel of agricultural land in Levy County, Florida, was acquired by a company with strong ties to the Chinese military. They plan to set up an experimental primate laboratory, causing great concern in the country.
The Beijing-based JOINN laboratory has purchased 1,400 acres, for $5.5 million, in the small farming community of Morriston. The animals will be quarantined and then sold.
However, local laws do not allow such activities because the site is classified as a residential forestry/agricultural area. But, the lab says it is pursuing a rezoning application.
JOINN laboratory executives and scientists have close ties to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
For example, the executive director of biologics, Shusheng Geng, worked at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
The U.S. government is making efforts to maintain its position as a world leader in biomanufacturing. On September 12, it issued an executive order to develop biotechnology, and estimated spending $2 billion over the next five years.
In the race to develop biotechnology, China ranks third in the world behind the United States and the EU.
What remains unclear is whether this executive order is encouraging foreign companies to invest in the country, creating national security risks.
Some critics believe it is a terrible idea to allow an adversary, such as the Chinese Communist Party, the ability to buy up large tracks of land in the country. And experiment with animals that could release unknown diseases.
A few days ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the measures he proposed to protect his fellow citizens, and among them, he mentioned the Chinese regime.
He said, “Prohibit China and other foreign countries of concern from purchasing agricultural land and land surrounding military bases in Florida.”
Chinese acquisitions threaten national security
In July, the Chinese food company, Fufeng Group, purchased 300 acres of land, worth $2.3 million, to set up a corn processing factory. But the project is only 20 minutes from the Grand Forks military base, raising serious national security concerns.
The Chinese acquisition generated a stir and consequently, on September 27, 50 lawmakers, led by Republican Carlos Gimenez, sent a letter to President Biden expressing their anger over the purchase of the farm, which could be used as spy central.
The lawmakers wrote, “The Grand Forks military base has exceptional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, making the newly acquired land the ideal place to closely monitor and interdict military activity.”
The letter not only warns of the threat to national security, but also to food security. And it calls on the government to be more aggressive in its policy against adversarial countries.
This is not the first time that a Chinese company has bought large plots of land in the United States. In April 2021, the Texas government rejected a wind farm project, after it was revealed that the company was linked to the CCP, and is located a few miles from Laughlin Air Force Base, where pilots are trained.
Republican Representative Will Hurd said, “In my opinion, it’s the greatest national security concern.”
The CCP’s infiltration into the United States has taken many forms, and the acquisition of property by “private Chinese companies” is just one of its many.