WOW, what a great turn of events!! GO MICHIGAN, my home state! What a testament to what can be accomplished when the people take a stand.
If you are not aware of this story, I am so glad to be the one to share it with you. When our government, our elected officials fail to do what is right, when they continue to be motivated by greed and they participate in corruption, when they fail to listen to the voice of the people…it is TIME TO TAKE A STAND! We outnumber those folks, they know it! But, they have become immune to our complaints because we have failed to back up our complaints with action.
Green Charter Township, Michigan’s residents had enough!! When they were ignored by their local government, they showed up at the poles and booted them out, took the keys and locked the doors. They will have a whole new government tomorrow. Hurray for them!!
People need to wake up! Our nation is being taken from us without a fight!! SO, what are we sending our best and strongest men and women all over the world to defend??? What are we to say to those who gave up everything to fight for our country. Those who come home without their limbs, or suffering mentally and emotionally from the burden they carried for us, or those families whose sons and daughters did not get to come home?
We just let our country fall apart from the inside and be divided up by foreigners?? THE USA is the greatest, free nation that ever existed. Do we not care enough to keep it?
A Michigan community has successfully blocked a Chinese energy company’s latest attempt to purchase two parcels of farmland in Green Charter Township, but despite the victory, residents say the fight is still far from over.
“We’ve got a small win here,” local Lori Brock, who helped lead the fight against the purchase, told “Fox & Friends First” Monday. “It was because we didn’t get any help from Michigan, but we called the federal EPA, and the federal EPA came up here and they and they got back some of the land for us.”
However, a company representative, in an email to Fox News, said, “Lori Brock’s statements about the EPA’s involvement in Gotion Inc.’s decision not to purchase farmland is categorically false.”
“Gotion Inc. decided not to purchase the farmland after listening to the concerns of local residents. The EPA had nothing to do with the company’s decision,” they added.
CCP-allied industrial company Gotion withdrew its purchase of the agricultural land after community outcry, but is moving forward with developing an EV battery factory on hundreds of acres previously purchased in Mecosta County. The Biden administration approved the project in June after a months-long national security review.
“We’re going to still continue to fight them every step of the way. We don’t want them here. So we’re going to do whatever it takes to keep them out of our community,” Brock continued.
Jeff Thorne, another resident putting up the fight, said the community pulled off the win “the American way” by standing together for the common cause, for making their voices known and refusing to back down.
“We have a say in how we live and what goes on and what doesn’t go out here,” he told co-host Ashley Strohmier.
“The Biden administration said it was OK,” she said. “And yes, it should concern people that this Democrat governor came out and courted this company and then signed non-disclosure agreements around this,” seh continued, adding that media coverage gave residents the information they needed to stop the development in its tracks.
“They could find out that there was no environmental review of this company. They could also find out that there are direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party…” she added, “And they were even able to fight the township board that would have circumvented the system and voted to have this property rezoned had the residents not come out informed and demanded a referendum and had a local vote on that.”
The fight comes as concerns over Chinese ownership of U.S. property increase, with Chinese firms owning nearly 400,000 acres – valued at more than $2 billion – in American farmland.
U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows Chinese companies occupy more land in some states than others, with Texas ranking the highest at over 50,000 acres.
John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, called the Chinese land grab a “national disgrace on behalf of the president.”
“This takes away valuable farmland from America’s farmers. So here you have nearly 385,000 acres now owned by the Chinese government, more land than the Bill Gates [owns] in this country. And this is a national security risk… China’s been caught stealing our seeds. That’s intellectual property. It’s food security, and this administration isn’t speaking out against it.”
Boyd said he has reached out to Biden to discuss the topic in a meeting, but the offer has not been accepted.
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Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, has adamantly opposed the project, which is set to receive $872 million in state and local incentives. The senator said the deal presents multiple threats on multiple fronts, from environmental endangerment, risks to public health and safety, as well as state and national sovereignty and security concerns.
A recent Daily Caller report indicated Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co. made the admission of the company’s affiliation in the their 2022 ESG report. U.S.-based Gotion Inc. is identified as “wholly owned and controlled” by Gotion High-Tech in its Foreign Agents Registration Act filing, while also claiming not to be controlled by any foreign principal (defined in part as a business principally organized under the laws of a foreign country) in the same document.
“Gotion’s deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party has been a known problem since this project came to light,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “The company clearly does not shy away from its CCP affiliations, yet those involved with the U.S.-based subsidiary, some members of the Legislature and the Whitmer administration continue to downplay its communist connections. While people with a vested interest in the battery plant’s approval may not care, many more Michiganders do care — especially those living near the site of the proposed battery plant.
“There is no way a wholly owned subsidiary of another company is allowed to have a fundamentally different perspective on the world. The CCP isn’t known for its tolerance of differing viewpoints, after all. Gotion has deep ties to the CCP and has for years, as it plainly acknowledges. The previous CEO, Chen Li, is now the president of Gotion Global and Gotion High-Tech, as well as a member of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, a central part of the CCP’s united front system, creating strategy to advance the CCP’s influence. His father, Chairman Seven General Manager of Gotion High-Tech, holds a leadership position in the CCP. Meanwhile, the adversarial relationship between the U.S. and the CCP continues to deteriorate.
“As I have said, the existential threat of armed conflict between the U.S. and China should be reason enough to deny this project, given Gotion’s deep connection to the CCP. As a Chinese company, Gotion must submit to CCP directives, which could include espionage and intellectual property theft — acts that the FBI deems its top counterintelligence priority. The fact that the plant is going to be located so closely to Camp Grayling — our country’s largest national guard military training facility — only adds to the severity of the decision.
“The Gotion plant threatens our state and national sovereignty and security, the environment, and public health and safety, while essentially costing the company nothing in return. Its looming disaster is a risk too great to ignore. I once again call on the Whitmer administration to cancel the deal.”
More mainland-listed companies acknowledge ‘Xi thought’ in corporate constitutions
HONG KONG — China’s Communist Party congress underlined fears that President Xi Jinping is extending his grip over business and the economy — but Chinese companies were already starting to bow to Beijing’s wishes by enshrining the role of the party in their businesses.
An analysis by Nikkei Asia has found that as of Friday, more than two-thirds of the mainland-listed companies whose shares can be traded by international investors in Hong Kong — 1,029 of 1,526 companies — have articles of association that formalize the role of in-house Communist Party cells. Most have been rewritten during the Xi era.
Nikkei Asia has also identified at least 153 of those 1,029 companies as having references to Xi in their articles of association, which in effect are a company’s constitution.
Such changes reflect the substantial pressure that the party and government have started to exert during Xi’s period as China’s leader to reinforce the role of the party cells, including by amending articles of association.
“It’s clear that there’s kind of a change in trend on this over the last few years,” said Andrew Batson, lead analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, a China-focused investment research organization based in Beijing.
Maccura Biotechnology, a manufacturer of in vitro diagnostic products, is among the latest to spell out the party’s role. The board of the Shenzhen-listed private company resolved to amend the articles of association to add a clause pledging to “provide necessary conditions for the activities for the party organization” on Oct. 24, immediately after the close of the congress.
Three days earlier Kingfa Sci. & Tech, a privately held manufacturer of plastics and materials, moved to include a virtually identical clause in its corporate constitution. Both companies are calling extraordinary meetings on Nov. 9 for shareholders’ approval.
They explained in their respective disclosures that the revisions were intended to further “upgrade the operational standard” or “improve the corporate governance structure” but did not explain how making the party’s activities official is related to these objectives.
Neither company had responded to queries by Nikkei Asia at the time of publication.
In China, all companies are obliged to set up party cells if there are at least three party members, according to the Communist Party Charter, which was amended on Oct. 22 at the close of the congress to legitimize Xi’s extended rule and articulate his political philosophies.
Chinese corporate law also states that companies “ought to provide necessary conditions for the activities of party association.”
However the requirements “for many years have been sort of ignored,” said Gavekal’s Batson. “What’s happened under Xi is that he strongly encouraged people to actually follow this requirement.”
The uptick in the number of companies openly adopting a more pro-party stance has coincided with the notion of “corporate governance with Chinese characteristics” — a reference to the country’s version of highly capitalistic socialism — being introduced by Chinese officials around 2017.
A milestone was an amendment in September 2018 by the China Securities Regulatory Commission to the corporate governance code for listed companies. The CSRC obliged all state-owned listed companies to stipulate “party-building” activities in their articles of association.
Nana Li, head of sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues for the Asia-Pacific region at London-based Impax Asset Management, said the code had given “many foreign investors a lesson of how the Chinese market is different from many Western capital markets they are familiar with.”
As geopolitical tensions with the U.S. and the major Western countries intensify, said Li, who has closely monitored the issue during the Xi era, “This path of developing ‘corporate governance with Chinese characteristics’ is going hand in hand with China’s aim to be more self-reliant.”
The pressure on companies apparently escalated in the run-up to the landmark party congress.
Nikkei Asia researched close to 2,100 mainland-listed companies that made public disclosures on amending their articles of association since May. Of these companies 1,464, or 70%, had officially declared having in-house party cells as of Friday, and many of these declarations have been made this year.
Some have gone further to enshrine Xi in their companies’ constitutions. The shareholders of Guangzhou Restaurant Group, operator of a renowned Cantonese diner in Guangdong’s capital city, approved last month additional clauses authorizing the in-house party organization to lead the company “to be highly consistent with the party,” with “Comrade Xi Jinping as the core” in terms of political orientation. The amendment also designated the party cell to guide the company to “deeply study and thoroughly implement Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”
The shareholders of AECC Aero-Engine Control, a Shenzhen-listed arm of key state-owned military-industrial conglomerate Aero Engine Corporation of China, also approved an amendment to its articles of association by upgrading its reference to Xi. They amended the original phrases to the one virtually identical to the Guangzhou eatery’s, while inserting a phrase to “uphold and strengthen the party’s comprehensive leadership” in the first article of the key company document.
Xi’s attempt to draw in corporate participation is reflected in the number of grassroots party organizations in China, which stood at 4.93 million at the end of last year, 17% more than at the end of 2012, when Xi took the party helm. According to official party statistics, overall membership also grew by 14% to 96.71 million during the same period.
Susumu Nishimura, associate professor at Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo and the author of a Japanese book on Communist Party organizations published in April, believes the party’s efforts to involve companies is part of an effort to revitalize grassroots party organizations and party membership at the local level.
Based on his nine years of experience teaching at a university in the northern province of Henan until last year, the corporate governance expert believes that for many Chinese companies, openly claiming party affiliation “could just be something similar to openly supporting concepts such as sustainable development goals or corporate social responsibility.”
China under Xi has gained much control over companies, including private ones, in the past decade –– as shown by how Beijing regulators have been clamping down on the tech sector.
“If the party wants to bring influence on management of large private companies, they have many levers and tools to it — most directly by regulations,” said Thomas Gatley, senior China corporate analyst at Gavekel based in Beijing. “Consequently, they don’t really need to do work through the interior of the company. They can just tell them what they want and what they don’t want, pretty clearly from the outside.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with other Congress members, set off on a high-profile Asia tour this week. While Pelosi’s office didn’t disclose Taiwan in the tour, her plane landed there on Tuesday.
Ahead of the meeting, China made their sentiments on the matter known through various statements and, most recently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducting live-fire drills on Pingtan, an island in the Taiwan Strait, according to Jim Wiesemeyer, ProFarmer policy analyst.
Regarding the visit, China’s foreign minister spokesperson Zhao Lijian says, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will not sit back.” Following Lijian’s statement, China sent warplanes to the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday.
Upon Pelosi’s plane leaving Taiwan on Wednesday, China claimed it will continue it’s live-fire drills surrounding Taiwan beginning Thursday.
Meanwhile, Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) told AgriTalk Host Chip Flory that Pelosi’s visit isn’t about seeing whether China will “stay in their box.”
“This is not about whether the Speaker can go to Taiwan,” he says. “Let’s reengage in the Pacific with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, let’s trade with our friends in the pacific, let’s get our economy in shape so that we’re a stronger country. That’s how we compete with China.”
While China raises concerns over American boots on the ground in Asia, the country continues to grow its own footprint in the U.S.
American Lands No More
USDA’s latest data shows China owns over 191,000 acres of U.S. lands, but that was before a North Dakota land sale this Spring.
A Chinese company, Fufeng Group, recently acquired 300 acres in North Dakota for $2.6 million. According to the company, it intends to establish a milling plant.
Various government officials, including North Dakota’s Governor Doug Burgum, have raised concerns over the sale.
Burgum penned a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday, requesting the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) quickly review the Fufeng Group’s purchase.
“We ask that this review process be completed with the utmost urgency to aid Grand Forks officials in their decision-making process and provide clarity on whether this land purchase has national security implications,” Burgum wrote.
Eric Chutorash, Fufeng Group USA COO, claims the company has no Chinese government ownership and all workers in the plant will be Americans. He says he “cannot imagine” anyone in the facility would partake in espionage.
“I know we’re not going to be asked to be collecting any intelligence on Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Chutorash told the Grand Forks Herald during a forum in March . “I can’t stress it any more than that. (But) me personally, I wouldn’t provide it. I don’t believe the team being built there would provide it. … Our HR director, commercial director and sales team and engineer, they’re from here – they’re not people transferred from China.”
According to Burgum, the Fufeng Group has agreed to a voluntary CFIUS filing to further explain its intentions in North Dakota. However, Chutorash claims his team would be required to state a reason for the CFIUS review when they offer consent, and they have been given no reason to request a review.
Big Trouble in Little Texas
This isn’t the first time a question has been raised in China’s stake in the U.S.
The plug was pulled on a similar wind energy project in Del Rio, Texas, in April when state officials realized two key issues:
1. The land dedicated to the wind farm is (just) miles from the Laughlin Air Force Base.
2. The Chinese company hired to carry out the job is owned by a former member of the Chinese military who has direct ties to China’s ruling communist party.
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), who unsuccessfully pushed for the Trump Administration to reconsider allowing GH America Energy—a Chinese energy company—to purchase 130,000 acres in Val Verde County, Texas, in early 2021, has sought out secondary avenues.
In April 2021, Gonzales cosponsored the Protecting Military Installations and Ranges Act of 2021, which aims to place restrictions on certain property purchases entities in Russia, China, Iran or North Korea.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
More At Stake with China
Aside from land, the U.S. government has also raised concerns over Chinese equipment’s hold on rural America.
Chinese state-supported telecom companies, Huawei and ZTE, faced scrutiny in the past when they sold equipment to Midwest providers.
While various Chinese telecom companies, including Huawei and ZTE, have been banned in the U.S. due to spying concern, removing their equipment hasn’t proven easy.
Congress dedicated $1.9 billion in 2020 to remove and replace 24,000 pieces of the Huawei and ZTE equipment in America. According to Chuck DeVore, former California assemblyman and retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, none of the equipment has been removed as carriers say the complete replacement costs will add an additional $3 billion to the price tag.
“Chinese telecommunications equipment remains a ticking timebomb,” wrote DeVore. “The time for talk is over; we need action.”
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