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How Texas Is Fighting Chinese Infiltration

Posted on Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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by Outside Contributor
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54 Comments
Texas

A Texas law blocking construction of a Chinese-owned wind farm close to an Air Force base could ripple across state lines to inspire new laws deterring China from burrowing into American infrastructure. 

The Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act—which became law in June 2021—prohibits companies and other entities from entering into agreements in Texas involving critical infrastructure if they are “owned or controlled” by governments or citizens of China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. 

“These nations must be banned from connecting into our critical infrastructure due to their rampant human rights abuses, illegal intelligence gathering, intellectual property theft, critical infrastructure attacks, and cyber system attacks,” Texas state Rep. Tan Parker, a Republican who first introduced the legislation, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. 

Chinese companies, usually connected to China’s government and Communist Party, have attempted to infiltrate U.S. infrastructure outside Texas as well.  

Parker spoke about the law he sponsored at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, held in July in Atlanta. ALEC, a nonprofit group of conservative state lawmakers, officially adopted his bill as model legislation for other states during the meeting.

Parker’s bill defined critical infrastructure to include communication systems, cybersecurity systems, electric grids, hazardous waste treatment systems, and water treatment facilities. 

His successful legislation also authorizes the Texas governor to designate a country as a threat to critical infrastructure in consultation with the state’s Department of Public Safety and with federal homeland security officials. 

“My prediction is more states will follow Texas and pass their own version of the Lonestar Infrastructure Protection Act,” Parker told The Daily Signal.  

‘What We Want to Stop’

The legislation in Texas was a response to Houston-based GH America Energy, a subsidiary of China’s Xinjiang Guanghui Industry Investment Group Co. Ltd. 

In 2016, the Chinese company purchased about 140,000 acres in Val Verde County, Texas. About 15,000 acres was carved out for the purpose of building a wind farm that would be known as the Blue Hills Wind Development. 

Sun Guangxin, a billionaire businessman in China, founded the parent company, which is based in Xinjiang. He is a member of the Chinese Communist Party and a former officer in the China’s People’s Liberation Army. 

If constructed, the Chinese-backed wind farm to produce energy would have occupied land about 200 miles west of San Antonio and a few dozen miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, where Laughlin Air Force Base operates in Del Rio, Texas. 

“The wind farm would have featured wind turbines between 400 and 700 feet tall, less than 70 miles away from the Air Force base, so I viewed this as a significant risk to our national security,” Parker told The Daily Signal. 

“This is a prime example of what we want to stop from happening,” the Texas lawmaker said. “There’s not even any wind that blows in that part of the state, for heaven’s sake, but they were still going forward with the project.”  

The Daily Signal sought comment from GH America Energy on the Texas legislation and its proposed wind project. A spokesperson acknowledged the inquiry, but the company had not responded by several weeks later. 

‘History of Breaking and Entering’

Michael Cunningham, a visiting fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, said he would like to see more states pass laws to keep infrastructure out of the hands of Chinese companies. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

“I think the federal government in just the past few years has started to recognize the risks posed by China and by Chinese infiltration,” Cunningham told The Daily Signal. “But I also see Chinese infiltration at the state level, and this is done to influence policy and to find a backdoor into America’s political system when no one is watching.”

Cunningham is the author of a Heritage report, released July 27, about what state and local governments can do to confront Chinese government efforts to infiltrate local political systems. 

“With China, it’s like having someone who is constantly talking about robbing you, and they have a history of breaking and entering,” Cunningham said. “But now you’ve decided to hire them to install locks.”

State officials typically are “too reactive” in their approach to potential foreign assaults on U.S. infrastructure, he said. 

Cunningham cites a case in 2019 when city officials in Miami stepped in to prevent Chinese companies from exercising control over a monorail system. The city acted in the absence of state action, he explained.

At the federal level, Cunningham pointed out, the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States gave its approval to the Blue Hills Wind Farm in Texas, despite the project’s connections to China. The committee is a panel representing federal agencies that examines the impact of foreign investments in the U.S.

“The committee gave the impression that they weren’t really worried about the wind farm, even though it’s close to a U.S. Air Force base,” Cunningham said in a phone interview. “But in true Texas fashion, Texas said, ‘Not on my watch.’” 

Protecting American Interests, Infrastructure

Spokespersons for the foreign investments committee did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment on why it approved the project over the opposition of Texas lawmakers. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, recently expressed concern about Chinese businessmen buying large swaths of farmland in his state. 

Parker, the Texas state lawmaker, said more Americans should become familiar with the implications of Article 7 of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, which directs all Chinese citizens and organizations to support and assist China’s national intelligence network. 

“This just makes it all the more clear why we have to protect America’s infrastructure and American interests,” Parker said. “I’ve always been a believer in free trade, but I believe in free and fair trade.”

Karla Jones, ALEC’s senior director of federalism and international relations, told The Daily Signal in an email that federal and state action is needed to close off potential points of vulnerability that could be exploited by China or other foreign actors.  

“While safeguarding access to sensitive information and monitoring opportunities for foreign influence at the federal level is vital, considerable damage can be done through state and local entities where awareness of national security implications is less developed,” Jones said.

“Strategic adversaries often exploit this vulnerability in our national security ecosystem, which is what this model policy attempts to address,” she said.

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Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
1 year ago

Every state in the union needs to look at this, NOT the feds currently running this nation into the ground & acting subserviently to foreign actors with CHINA in the lead as Texas & other states are learning quickly…
Bill… :~)

Laura
Laura
1 year ago

The Biden’s have been “doing business” with the Chinese for quite a while. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have something to do with this infiltration. And Joe Biden is probably pressuring the states to agree to this nonsense. He does that kind of thing all the time.

Schultzz
Schultzz
1 year ago

Good for them! The way China is buying our land is ???? scary. When they buy near military bases it is more than serious. They must be stopped. China may be wose than George Soros.

K. Martin
K. Martin
1 year ago

I don’t understand why the U.S. allows ANY foreigner or foreign entity to own property here.

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
1 year ago

You’ve just gotta love most of our Texas lawmakers, especially for catching something like this. I hate all the wind farms anyway. They don’t do what most people think they do in the first place as far as energy says they do. I’ve had the privilege of speaking to the Vice President over the blasted things, and if she says they don’t give off as much energy as people think they do, then why bother with them in the first place?

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

Shouldn’t the federal government be doing this?

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Nice political gesture and a nice little jab in the eye to the Biden administration, but this should be done at the federal government level if you intend to have any meaningful effect to impact national policy or China directly. Our power grids in this country are all inter-connected across multiple state lines and any one major disruption has the potential to negatively impact power to at least a quarter to a third of the country at any given time.

Sure Texas wants to send a message to China and the Biden administration, but even Texas is reliant on being connected to a larger power grid supporting the entire southwest part of the country. That grid in turn is connected to the other major power grids that support the rest of the country. So the effect of this action will be strictly limited to within Texas’ state border lines.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Recently China Warned the US to Stop Arms Sales, Military Interactions With Taiwan. China released the deadly Covid virus on the US and the world. How much more will it take before America wakes up and sees China as the enemy that it is. Stop helping America’s enemy

Bobbie
Bobbie
1 year ago

I would go further and ban ANY country from owning businesses in America. They do it to us all the time.

Jeanette
Jeanette
1 year ago

Already in California..Dakotas..Texas..where else? This is very wrong..and needs to be stopped. Just another sneaky method to take over our Republic.

K
K
1 year ago

Bravo Texas! Biden’s Actions have caused so much harm to the United States And Her Legal Citizens. Why Would Anyone In Their Right Mind Allow China To Construct Wind Mill Farms In Any Part Of The United States, Let Alone So Close To A US Air Force Base?? Anything Coming Out Of China Is Connected To the CCP. “WE THE PEOPLE”, The Legal Citizens Of The United States, Are Not As Stupid As Biden, The Rest Of His CCP Loving Administration Think We Are!!!!

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

Thank you Texas for taking head-on this problem of foreign ownership of property in USA. We all need to contact our Senators/Reps & tell them to pass a bill to stop this. From what I read, China & others have also picked up properties in Canada & some of natural resources. We must stop this silent foreign invasion before it is too late.

Barbara D
Barbara D
1 year ago

No foreign countries should be permitted to BUY any American soil, nor any food processing plants, energy plants, or any important infrastructure which can be crushed if any future conflicts arise in later years. They might be friends today, but could be deadly enemies tomorrow.
We should consider our massive debt to China…PAID IN FULL….since they set their bio weapon loose on the world causing great cost to ALL nations, not just in dollars, but in human life. Are we the only stupid country that allows their land to be eaten up by foreigners??? Let’s remember one thing that is fact: CHINA IS OUR MORTAL ENEMY. PERIOD.

Paul Tschiderer
Paul Tschiderer
1 year ago

Why would any state allow Chinese windmills in our country. CHINA STOLED the wind mill technology from the USA.KEEP CHINA OUT OF THE USA.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
1 year ago

Texas is exercising common sense unchallenged in other countries where it is recognized as national security. What is wrong with American leadership where this is apparently open for discussion ?

Charmaine
Charmaine
1 year ago

It sounds to me that Texas is on top of things that matter to “We The People”. Perhaps we should “Move” our Nations Capitol to Texas where our Sovereignty is better Respected and Cared about.

Lynn
Lynn
1 year ago

Texas–Smart state. Biden and the swamp are so corrupt and indebted to CCP that they’d sell momma to them. CCP keeps buying land near sensitive strategic sights and they are allowed to. Talk about about the enemy within, Quislings and fifth columns!

rustee1i
rustee1i
1 year ago

I cannot understand Americans who would put money over principle.
This is the reason America’s power has waned.
Our congress critters (and the last few presidents) have put money over principle every time!
America has been sold out by these traitorous scoundrels.
Until Trump came to office, NO ONE was doing anything about it.
Which is why they are after him tooth and nail.
God help America!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 year ago

Too little, too late! Most of our phones are made in China as is most of our electronics. Semiconductors and the battery minerals used in all those electric cars the left want… CHINA! People are going to die in Europe because they depended on Russia for their energy. How many need to die here next before ppl finally learn CHINA IS AN ENEMY.

Myrna Wade
Myrna Wade
1 year ago

Texas is right to block the Chinese. I heard from a person who saw this that the Chinese had already built a huge solar panel project in Texas complete with their own airstrip. Clearly the Chinese plan to use the ridiculous war on fossil fuels to their advantage. If they become the owners of the solar power and sell it to Americans, they gain the same leverage over USA that the Russians now have over Europe.

Glenn Ross
Glenn Ross
1 year ago

I wonder what would happen if a U.S. company were to to invest in China’s infrastructure or industries.

Word of Truth
Word of Truth
1 year ago

The U.S. should handle a China business just like China handles foreign companies that want to do business in China. They own 51% of that business and have access to all the technology and documents of that business.

Darby Kachmar
Darby Kachmar
1 year ago

Why does America continue selling her land to foreign entities public OR private? It is a form of slow suicide to not protect ourselves. I realize there are parties in our midst who do not care except to profit; surely they are not the majority.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
1 year ago

If only our representatives in Washington DC exhibited the intelligence of members of Texas State Government.

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Anyone that sells out to China is taking blood money. I hope other states will adopt laws like Texas but don’t look for the socialist states run by democrats to do anything that would counter Biden’s agenda. Also, we can pray that the socialist liberals don’t get their hooks into Texas like they have in almost all other states. As we all know the socialist liberals will make inroads a little at a time until there is no conservative room left and the state will become a little California. This cancer must be stopped.

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

Thank you Texas for recognizing the danger of this & what is best for America in the future.

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