Chinese ownership of Alabama land, resources banned in proposed legislation

A bill in the Alabama Legislature aims to prevent Chinese citizens and entities from purchasing property in the state.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:11 PM CDT|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 11:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A bill making its way through the Alabama Legislature would prevent Chinese ownership of property in the state, marking the latest development in the strained relationship between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies.

State Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, the majority leader of the Alabama House, filed HB 379, called the “Alabama Property Protection Act.”

“I don’t believe we should allow buyers from Communist China to purchase Alabama land and resources to use for their purposes,” Stadthagen said. “Our agricultural and manufacturing resources are critical to the success of our state and our nation. We are also home to multiple military installations and soon be home to Space Command. This bill ensures that those facilities, those resources and those installations will not be neighbors with the [Chinese Communist Party].”

The bill would prohibit non-resident citizens of China, the Chinese government, or Chinese entities from buying property in Alabama. It’s similar to the “Not One More Inch or Acre” legislation that has been introduced by U.S. Sen. Katie Britt, R-Alabama, and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas.

“Senator Britt is tackling this issue on the federal level, but we need an Alabama solution as well,” Stadthagen explained. “That is what this legislation does. It allows us to protect property within the boundaries of our state.”

This bill to prevent Chinese purchasing power will also impact Alabama residents that are Chinese Citizens. Dr. Bowei Tan has lived in Alabama for 10 years and is doctor at Jackson Hospital.

“We are doctors, we are teachers, we are professors, we are realtors. We’re holding legal papers to stay here, we pay taxes here,” said Tan. “It is not right for us to not have a house. Denying our right to home ownership I think is not right.”

He fears this bill will impact the statewide shortage of doctors.

“Excellent young physician just finished a training New York City and I present a job and I talked about this and he was absolutely no,” said Tan.

The land includes a home, which is why some Chinese Alabama residents are concerned.

“I’m afraid this kind of discrimination will spread to the other Asian ethnic groups,” said Linyaun Duo-Brennan, an adjunct professor. “You cannot tell based on the look, so the only way you have to ask a certain people to demonstrate their loyalty.”

The National Association of Realtors recently released a report showing that Chinese buyers purchased $6.1 billion worth of American real estate in the time period from April 2021 and March 2022.

“This is an issue we need to address now. There is no reason to wait until we have a major problem before us to address it,” Stadthagen stated. “This is something that Alabamians want and something our state needs. I believe this bill will have strong bipartisan support.”

The legislation passed the House 73-23 with six abstentions. It will be voted on by a Senate committee before consideration for final passage.

Part of the bill excludes citizens and entities of Taiwan which is a Chinese territory. It also excludes existing Chinese businesses, allowing them to expand and purchase more property.

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