The New York Post has compiled a list of Chinese farmland acquisitions near U.S. military facilities. Fox Business developed a graphic that starkly illustrates the problem and released it this week.

None of the Chinese landholdings are near military facilities in Alabama. 

China has been buying strategically placed farmland near U.S. military installations, raising national security fears over espionage or sabotage.

The Post identified 19 bases close to land bought by Chinese purchasers, which could potentially be exploited by spies working for the Chinese.

The problematic “China Groves” are near important bases: Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg) in Fayetteville, N.C.; Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) in Killeen, Texas; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Calif., and MacDill air force base in Tampa, Fla.

Chineselandnearmilitary Alabama News
Fox Business

So far, no Chinese purchases of Alabama farmlands have been reported near military facilities in Alabama. The in-state facilities include:

Anniston Army Depot, Fort Novesel (former Fort Rucker), Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex, Redstone Arsenal and 2nd Medical Recruiting Battalion, 117 ARW, and 187 FW.

Alabama may be ahead of other states in taking state action to protect against Chinese land purchases near strategic resources. On May 31, 2023, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law “The Alabama Property Protection Act.” It takes the protections against in-state land purchases to more than just the Chinese, adding Russia, Iran and North Korea.

The bill also protected more strategic sites than just military bases. It also prohibited land purchases near “airports, seaports, power plants, water and wastewater treatment facilities, gas terminals and other critical facilities.”

House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) sponsored the bill, which was carried in the State Senate by State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay).

Robert S. Spalding III, a retired Air Force brigadier general whose work focuses on US-China relations, told The Post, “It is concerning due to its proximity to strategic locations. 

“These locations can be used to set up intelligence collection sites and the owners can be influential in local politics,” he said.

“It is alarming we do not have laws on the books that would prevent the Chinese from buying property in the U.S.”

Gen. Spalding apparently was not aware of the Alabama law.

Under the disguise of farming, the Chinese landowners could set up reconnaissance sites, install tracking technology, use radar and infra-red scanning to view bases or attempt to fly drones over them as ways to surveil military sites.

A Sept. 2023 report in the Wall Street Journal detailed Chinese intruders attempting to breach military facilities over 100 times since 2000, including sneaking onto a missile range in New Mexico and scuba divers spotted near a government rocket-launch site in Florida.

Morgan Lerette, with private military contractor Blackwater, is sounding the alarm:

“The Chinese are, or will, use this farmland to learn more about US military capabilities, movements, and technology. This will allow them to better understand how to transition their military from a defensive strategy to an expeditionary one. They’ll figure out how to move forces quickly for conflicts such as taking Taiwan and how and when US forces would respond to their incursions based on troop movement at these bases," Lerette said.

According to the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Chinese investors own 349,442 acres of U.S. farmland, and the number is growing.

One of the biggest investors in Texas is secretive billionaire Sun Guangxin, who has ties to the communist party and spent an estimated $110 million buying up land near Laughlin Air Force Base, a training ground for military pilots.

Potential espionage attempts by Chinese operatives have prompted the Defense Department, FBI, and other agencies to heighten their investigations on so-called “gate-crashers” attempting to breach US military installations.

Chinese nationals have also used drones.

Key West, Florida, has seen repeated incidents at an intelligence center, where Chinese ‘tourists’ were found swimming near the military facility and snapping photos.

In 2020, three Chinese citizens were sentenced to prison after illegally entering the naval air station there, either walking around the fence or driving in and ignoring orders to turn back.

The border has proven an even greater threat to America’s security.  By the end of the 2023 fiscal year, Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended 24,048 Chinese citizens at the border with Mexico, they revealed. That number is more than 12 times the 1,970 arrests in the previous fiscal year.

"For too long, in the name of tolerance, we've let these dangerous governments infiltrate our country." Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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