The House Select Committee on China is turning its focus on efforts by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to steal intellectual property from the American agriculture industry.
According to Fox News, the ranking members of both parties – Chairman Mike Gallagher (D-Wisc.) and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) – traveled to Dysart, Iowa to speak with farmers about the systematic theft of agricultural technology by the CCP, and how these plans are undermining the sovereignty of American agriculture.
“Our country is filled with invisible factories and invisible farms — those that would have been built or planted here if we’d chosen to protect American technology and resources,” said Gallagher in a statement. “Both the Trump and Biden administrations have oriented U.S. strategy around ‘competing’ with the Chinese Communist Party. But we’re not “competing” if we’re letting the CCP steal hundreds of billions of dollars from Americans–we’re throwing the game from the outset.”
One example of agricultural technology that has been sought by the Chinese is seed engineering. In 2011, a field manager in Iowa discovered and exposed a Chinese seed smuggling ring. In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecuted and convicted a Chinese scientist for conspiring to steal rice seeds from a biopharmaceutical research facility in Kansas; the scientist was sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison.
In 2022, Chinese national Xiang Haitao pled guilty to conspiracy to commit economic espionage; he was sentenced to two years in prison. The technology he sought to steal was a central algorithm for a software platform that aimed to help farmers visualize and analyze field data.
In his own statement, Krishnamoorthi said that the threat must be taken “very seriously,” and that the U.S. must “show the CCP some consequences for these actions.”
The rise in attempted agricultural espionage coincides with another alarming tactic being employed by the CCP, in which Chinese-linked companies and other entities have been purchasing many acres of American farmland, often located near military bases and other strategic points of interest.