The second-largest foreign owner of American land is a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member, a new report has revealed.
According to Land Report, Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao owns approximately 200,000 acres of land in Oregon.
Chen is the founder, chairman, and CEO of global investment firm Shanda Group.
According to Chinese-language media reports, Chen has extensive ties to China’s Communist government, including CCP membership.
He also holds executive roles in CCP-affiliated organizations.
In 2015, Chen acquired 198,000 acres in Oregon, according to Land Report.
The $85 million purchase made the Chinese national the 82nd-largest property owner in the U.S.
It also makes Chen the second-largest foreign U.S. land owner.
Bloomberg reported that Chen is second only to a Canadian family who owns over 1 million acres of Maine.
Oregon’s Bull Springs Skyline Forest accounts for approximately 33,000 of Chen’s acreage, according to Land Report.
Oregon Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer said she was “deeply concerned that individuals tied to the Chinese Communist Party are buying up timberland, which is one of our most precious and finite resources.”
“Foreign ownership of United States lands is a serious problem that has rightfully sparked unease among farmers, ranchers and foresters across the country,” Chavez-DeRemer told the Daily Caller.
Chen also owns several urban properties in the U.S., including the Vanderbilt Mansion in Manhattan, the Seeley Mudd Estate near Los Angeles, and a 150,000-square-foot research facility at Caltech called the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience.
Each of the properties is worth tens of millions of dollars, according to Land Report.
Chinese ownership of U.S. land, in particular agricultural land, has come under increased scrutiny from GOP governors, who see it as a potential national security threat.
Several states, including Florida, have taken legislative and executive action to ban Chinese ownership of U.S. farmland, the most recent being Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s January 2024 executive order banning such purchases near military installations.
“One of the Chinese Communist Party’s goals is to undermine and weaken America,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told the Caller.
“This includes instances where our greatest adversary continues to buy land — whether its farmland or near our installations.”
Born in 1973, Chen served as a student cadre from an early age, state-run media outlet China News Service reported.
“In 1990, Chen enrolled in Fudan University to major in economics, the following year he joined the Chinese Communist Party, and, in 1993, he won the title of ‘Shanghai Municipal Outstanding Model Cadre Student,’” according to an archived 2005 press release from Chen’s alma mater, Fudan University in Shanghai.
Chen was just 18 when he joined the Communist Party, according to a 2007 article from Communist Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League.
Since joining the Party, Chinese media outlets and business filings have repeatedly identified Chen as a CCP member.
A 2016 Sohu.com article identified Chen and several other Chinese CEOs as CCP members.
Likewise, Chen’s profile on the Chinese financial portal Sina, which was last updated in November 2023, identifies him as a CCP member.
The state-run Beijing Review describes Chen as an admirer of Mao Zedong, the first chairman of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Chen even has a favorite Mao Zedong quote, according to state-run media outlet China News Service: “Strategically we should despise all our enemies, but tactically we should take them all seriously.”
Mao delivered the remarks in a speech denouncing American imperialism during a visit to Moscow in November 1957, according to the University of Dayton Review.
Above and beyond his CCP membership, Chinese government records show that Chen served as a representative to the 11th and 12th councils of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which ran between 2008 and 2018.
The CPPCC is a Chinese government agency where “all the relevant united front actors inside and outside the party come together: party elders, intelligence officers, diplomats, propagandists, military officers, and political commissars, united front workers, academics and businesspeople,” former CIA officer Peter Mattis testified to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2019.
“CPPCC delegates attend a high-profile annual meeting to receive direction from the CCP regarding the ways its policies should be characterized to both domestic and foreign audiences,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
“Delegates to the CPPCC serve as proxies for CCP interests by virtue of their participation in this forum, and they frequently act as interlocutors with foreign government officials, businesses, and academic institutions.”
Chen has also held executive positions with the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), including with the group’s Shanghai branch, according to the Chinese-language news outlet Sohu.com.
ACFIC describes itself as an organization “led by the Communist Party of China” that “contributes greatly to the Party’s united front and economy-related work as well as the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
John Dotson, deputy director of Global Taiwan Institute, told the DCNF that ACFIC is subordinate to the United Front Work Department (UFWD), which is a CCP agency whose operations are a “blend of engagement, influence activities, and intelligence operations,” according to the House Select Committee on the CCP.
“In regards to the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, it’s definitely a subordinate agency of the UFWD — that’s not even a matter for analysis or interpretation,” Dotson told the Daily Caller.
“In public Chinese sources, ACFIC is openly listed as a subordinate branch of the UFWD.”
ACFIC could not be reached for comment.
“The increase in PRC-affiliated U.S. land purchases in recent years is a growing cause for concern,” a House Select Committee on the CCP aide told the DCNF.
“We can start with adding a presumption of denial for entities affiliated with the PRC when it comes to land acquisitions near national security sites such as military bases that the CCP could use for intelligence collection or worse.”