Recently, Texas State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst proposed Senate Bill 147 to restrict foreign purchases of Texas land. The legislation specifically target governments, entities, and citizens of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. The four nations are deemed by the U.S. government as major threats to America. The bill comes in response to the purchase of 137,000 acres of land near Laughlin Air Force Base by a former Chinese army officer. It also reflects the voice of Texas farmers who don’t want foreign countries to take away their farmland. Similar bills have been proposed by legislators of about 21 other U.S. states, as well.

On March 2, the Texas Senate held a public hearing for SB 147. To the senators’ surprise, the hearing was dominated by Chinese groups who opposed the bill, who took more than 90 percent of speaking opportunities and blamed the bill for racism and discrimination. This is the first time I have heard so many words regarding protecting Chinese rights from the group of people who are usually the supporters of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Last month, I had access to some of their conversations in those anti-SB 147 WeChat groups through my friends there. What they said during the hearing is totally different from what they said in their WeChat groups. The non-public discussions there used a lot of CCP language and verbiage which totally disappeared in their public speeches. 

I simply don’t see the bill will hurt any naturalized U.S. citizen like myself or green card holders or asylum-seekers in any way. We Chinese Americans can still buy land and homes as usual. The bill will only make the CCP or any totalitarian party in the four countries unhappy. I simply don’t see any reason why there is such a strong opposition.

In traditional Chinese values, education is the No. 1 priority in people’s life. Texas Governor Abbott is currently proposing a “school choice” policy that will definitely impact Chinese children in Texas. But those who strongly oppose SB 147 don’t seem to care about it at all. It seems that protecting CCP’s interests in Texas has much higher priority for them.  

I have checked the profiles of those opposition leaders and found some connections with CCP.  For example, last year Texas Scorecard published an investigative report exposing State Rep. Gene Wu’s multiple ties with CCP. Other leaders of anti-SB 147 efforts can also be found to have some ties with CCP.  

From their discussions, I have also learned that their goal is far beyond defeating SB 147. They will use defeating SB 147 as a breakthrough to defeat similar bills in other states. This is a national and a coordinated effort. Who is behind all these? 

There had been a Chinese consulate in Houston, until it was closed by the previous administration due to suspected spy activities. Did their network and connections disappear after they left? Unlikely. 

As far as I know, the vast majority of people living in Texas are not opposing SB 147 at all—we support it! It is time for people of Texas to speak loud in defending our state, our nation, our values, and our way of living.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Bin Xie

Ben Xie is a cyber security professional working in Texas Medical Center.

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