Former U.S. ambassador and presidential candidate Nikki Haley has been warning about China, calling it part of the "New Axis of Evil" and tweeting that the U.S. should "end normal trade relations with Communist China until it stops killing Americans with fentanyl."
In another tweet, she said, "We are living through the most dangerous period in our lifetimes. It feels like Jimmy Carter’s 1970s. But the better comparison might be the 1930s. There’s war in Europe. There’s war in the Middle East. Communism is on the march – not in the Soviet Union, but in China."
That's all fine and good, but her campaign trail rhetoric doesn't match her record as governor of South Carolina. During her tenure, South Carolina sold and gave away hundreds of acres of real estate to Chinese investors.
The land giveaway involves a Chinese company with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party called China Jushi. In a 2016 Facebook post, Haley announced, "Get excited! China Jushi is creating 400 new jobs and investing $300 million right here in Columbia! They are the leading supplier of fiberglass reinforcements and fabrics worldwide."
In an agreement first reported by the Washington Post, China Jushi agreed to create 800 jobs and invest $400 million in the state in exchange for 197 acres of South Carolina real estate valued at $4.9 million. According to the WaPo, "This is a partially state-owned enterprise where a top official is a ranking Chinese Communist Party member. Board chairman Chang Zhangli is a party committee member. China National Building Material Company Limited, a state-owned company, owns nearly 27 percent of China Jushi, according to the company website. Several top officials of CNBMC also are party officials."
But that's not all. Chinese companies purchased 1,500 acres of land, and Chinese capital investment doubled in the state while Haley was governor.
The WaPo reported on the more significant purchases and cozy deals with Chinese companies:
- Wellman Plastics Recycling, 2015 purchase (about 400 acres), after receiving a $500,000 expansion grant from the S.C. Department of Commerce.
- TechTronic Industries. 2015 expansion (300 acres), after receiving job development credits from the state coordinating council.
- Smithfield Foods, 2013 purchase (208 acres)
- Keer Group, 2013 new facility (133 acres), after receiving job development credits and a $4 million grant from the state coordinating council.
And there were multiple small land buys by Chinese companies as well:
- 58 acres in 2013 by JN Fibers for a new production facility after receiving an $800,000 state grant and other incentives;
- 34 acres (valued at $15 million) by Yanfeng Automotive in 2016 to establish a plant;
- 31 acres by the plastics manufacturer Uniscite in 2015 to establish a manufacturing plant.
In addition, the WaPo found that "Eleven other deals involved land purchases of under 30 acres each, with some also involving state grants and incentives."
Many of these were negotiated at the county level or by individuals, yet Haley's office celebrated the deals as big wins for the state.
According to the S.C. Department of Commerce, the state "has recorded capital investment from Chinese companies totaling almost $669 million." And in 2007, South Carolina signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese government "to establish and designate South Carolina as a preferred United States location for Chinese businesses," which was signed "during a visit to South Carolina by an official with the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China."
Granted, 1,500-odd acres of real estate in South Carolina isn't a huge amount of land, but it's troubling that Haley, a China hawk who has been warning about the dangers of the CCP, played footsie with the Chinese while governor of the state. Moreover, Haley was less than honest when asked about it at a town hall in Iowa last month.
An audience member asked, “I saw something on the internet that said you gave China thousands of acres of land in South Carolina. Why would you do that?”
“Don’t believe what you read on the internet," Haley replied. "We didn’t sell any land to the Chinese. But, yes, I recruited a fiberglass company.”
Well, the facts don't lie, nor do South Carolina's contracts with Chinese companies and documents on the state's website.
She went on to defend the contracts at the town hall: "There is not a governor in this country or a state in this country that hasn’t worked to get Chinese business in their state somewhere. There’s not a household in this country that doesn’t have Chinese products in it. But there is a difference between focusing on something that’s going to hurt our national security and focusing on whether I brought a fiberglass company to South Carolina."
PJ Media reached out to Haley's campaign for a comment, but they did not respond in time for publishing.
If Haley does indeed believe that China poses an existential threat to the United States and that we should "end normal trade relations" with the Communist regime, she should own up to bringing a company with ties to the CCP to her state. Moreover, she should apologize to the American people for bringing their operatives to our shores.