The South Carolina Senate recently approved legislation with the goal of keeping Chinese, Russian, and other nations considered to be “foreign foes” from acquiring real estate in the state.
According to those who supported the bill, which was approved on Thursday by a vote of 31-5, it reflects deteriorating US relations with China. China is the largest security threat to the country, according to the Pentagon. In South Carolina, which is also home to thousands of Chinese immigrants and college students, there are already dozens of Chinese-owned businesses.
Republican senator from Spartanburg Josh Kimbrell stated earlier this month that “there has been a growing trend across the country generally where China’s gotten much more aggressive to the United States and our interests.” “Our goal is to avoid exposing ourselves politically and financially to the Chinese government or communist party as much as we can.”
In the past, South Carolina sought out Chinese businesses to assist in bringing jobs to the state, but as Kimbrell pointed out, attitudes toward Beijing have definitely changed. Chinese businesses have announced investments since 2011 that are expected to result in the creation of 5,300 new jobs.
The state won’t make an effort to compel land sales made in the past by foreign companies and individuals. According to reports, the bill was introduced in order to thwart a Chinese company’s intended acquisition of 500 acres in South Carolina.
Sen. Shane Massey, the majority leader in the Senate, said last week to the Associated Press, “We need to examine inside that wooden horse before we let it in the gate. And some nations have given us further justification to check the inside of the wooden horse before letting it through the gate.
According to the US Department of Commerce, China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, and North Korea are the five hostile countries.
Legislative bodies in at least 11 additional US states are debating legislation that would restrict or outright forbid foreign adversaries from owning real estate. Lawmakers have expressed concern that adversarial countries could utilize land ownership to boost their surveillance operations in the wake of last month’s uproar over an alleged Chinese spy balloon that crossed the US.
A measure in South Carolina would forbid businesses owned more than 20% by people from hostile countries from purchasing real estate. The purchase of real estate would likewise be prohibited for residents of certain nations. These foreign nationals would be permitted to establish enterprises in the state, but their businesses would not be permitted to own the real estate they occupy.