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OPINION

TikTok Bans to Protecting Farmland: How The CCP is Being Put On Notice

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Anjum Naveed

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses the biggest threat to the United States. 

Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the embattled intelligence agency, understands this, writing, “The counterintelligence and economic espionage efforts emanating from the government of China and the Chinese Communist Party are a grave threat to the economic well-being and democratic values of the United States.” 

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From the Belt and Road Initiative to forging strategic alliances with supposed U.S. allies, the CCP and its leader Xi Jinping are more emboldened today with a weaker U.S. under President Joe Biden. 

Why? The Biden administration, sadly, views China as a “strategic competitor” and not a threat like Russia. The recently-unveiled National Security Strategy document claims, “(China), by contrast, is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to advance that objective.”

With the Biden administration downplaying the CCP’s threat, red state governors and bipartisan members of Congress appear to be charting a different course. 

Growing opposition to TikTok, the popular social media platform owned by ByteDance, an a-CCP-owned company, is one of the few areas where elected Republicans and Democrats agree. And even journalists are recognizing its spyware.

Due to this, a growing number of states and universities are banning it on state-owned phones and wireless networks. As of this writing, 16 Republican-led states have issued executive orders. Universities and colleges located in red states are also aligning campus policies accordingly. 

For instance, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order banning the app on state devices prompted the University of Oklahoma to adopt a similar policy on university-owned devices. 

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"In compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2022-33, effective immediately, no University employee or student shall access the TikTok application or website on University-owned or operated devices, including OU wired and wireless networks," David Horton, OU’s Chief Information Officer, and Senior Associate Vice President, wrote in a letter.

Another development banning TikTok on government devices came last week after the U.S. Senate voted by unanimous consent to pass Missouri Senator Josh Hawley’s bill, S.1143, or the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act.” A similar Senate bill was also passed in August 2020 by unanimous consent.

“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices,” Senator Hawley (R-MO) said in a press release. “States across the U.S. are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to help do the same.”

It’s unlikely President Biden signs a bill outright banning the social media app altogether because he’s leaned on TikTok influencers to promote his agenda across their accounts. 

Nevertheless, this is a good step forward.

Not only is the CCP attempting to wield its influence through TikTok, but it’s also deploying its affiliated companies to purchase acres of U.S. farmland. 

It was revealed a Chinese-owned company, Fufeng Group, bought 300 acres of farmland in North Dakota situated 20 minutes away from the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

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This discovery prompted South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a rancher, to take action to prevent foreign-owned companies–especially those tied to the CCP–from purchasing farmland in her state. 

On December 13th, Noem announced the creation of a new board called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota (CFIUS-SD) to “investigate proposed purchases of ag land by foreign interests and recommend either approval or denial to the Governor.” 

“With this new process, we will be able to prevent nations who hate us – like Communist China – from buying up our state’s agriculture land,” Governor Noem said in a release. “We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to buy up our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will lead the charge on this vital national security issue.”

More states could follow Governor Noem’s lead in 2023.

It’s also worrisome that foreign-owned companies tied to the CCP are entangled with American companies. 

The Daily Caller reported the Ford Motor Company, in partnership with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), a Chinese battery manufacturer, was eyeing Virginia for a potential manufacturing site. 

Governor Glenn Youngkin reportedly directed the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the Commonwealth’s state economic development authority, to remove his state from consideration for the potential manufacturing plant, the Daily Caller explained. 

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The publication describes how the Chinese company would work, writing, “The ownership arrangement between Ford and CATL permits Ford to own the plant, including all buildings and structures, while CATL will have control of the factory operations and the technology used to build the car batteries.” This partnership would allow the future plant to reap massive U.S. tax breaks – including those offered by the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Will growing opposition to CCP spyware on government devices be enough for President Biden to act? How about Chinese-owned companies purchasing farmland and buying farmland strategically located near military bases? 

Unfortunately, that won’t happen anytime soon given the vast Biden family entanglements with China. Therefore, Republicans must pressure the White House to act on the CCP in the 118th Congress.

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