PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers voted Wednesday to send a message to Chinese communists: Your money is not welcome here — at least not for buying land.
On a party-line vote, the Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation making it illegal for the Chinese Communist Party to own property in Arizona. That part of SB 1342 appeared to get no opposition.
But the proposal by Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, seeks to extend the same prohibition to any individual who is a member of the Chinese Communist Party. And that drew questions about who, in fact, is a member of the party and whether such restrictions are appropriate against individuals based solely on that status.
Rogers provided the committee with no specifics about what is the problem here — or even if there is one. Nor did she know whether members of the CCP own land in Arizona.
Instead, she simply read from information that was provided after U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, introduced similar federal legislation last year.
In a press release, Roy said that a Chinese-based energy company bought more than 130,000 of land near Laughlin Air Force Base in his home state “and is now attempting to build a wind farm to access the U.S. power grid.”
At Wednesday’s hearing, the measure got a boost from P.M. Azinga, a Mesa resident who said she taught in China for five years.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fight,” she said, quoting from the ancient Chinese military treatise by Sun Tzu.
That rang a bell with Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, who is retired military and called himself “a student of Sun Tzu.” What that philosophy involves, Borrelli said, is “encroachment, either through purchase, or their grab a little, nudge a little, grab a little, nudge a little.”
But who, then, is a member of the Chinese Communist Party?
Sen. David Livingston, R-Peoria, compared it to being an active duty member of the military who is deployed and representing the country.
“It’s so different from how we think,” he said. “Trust me: This is not the Republican Party or the Boy Scouts.”