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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (LifeSiteNews) — Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Tuesday that the state has ordered a Chinese company to relinquish ownership of 160 acres of Arkansas land, becoming the first state in the nation to take such a step.

The move concerns Syngenta, a Switzerland-based producer of agricultural chemicals that was purchased in 2017 by China National Chemical Corporation (CNCC), which in turn is owned by the Chinese government. Sanders called the ownership a “clear threat to our state” due to the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s interest in acquiring intelligence and technology through its various assets around the world, such as seemingly-innocuous companies.

CNCC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense as one of several “Chinese Military Companies Operating in the United States.”

“Seeds are technology,” Sanders said. “Chinese state-owned corporations filter that technology back to their homeland, stealing American research and telling our enemies how to target American farms. That is a clear threat to our national security.”

“This is not about where you come from,” she added. “We welcome Chinese Americans.” But, she noted, China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law forces Chinese citizens and corporations to cooperate with state intelligence agencies, even abroad.

Arkansas Republican Attorney General Tim Griffin also announced a $280,000 civil penalty against Syngenta for failing to disclose its Chinese ownership in a timely manner.

“This is the first enforcement action I have taken under the authority granted under Act 636 of 2023 by the General Assembly to ban prohibited foreign entities from owning Arkansas agricultural lands,” he said. “I thank Secretary Wes Ward and the Department of Agriculture for their help in obtaining information to assist my office in determining the ultimate foreign owners of this land in Craighead County. It is this kind of teamwork across state government that will help us all continue to protect the interests of Arkansans for generations to come.”

Elected last fall, Sanders has been a proactive conservative governor, taking action to prohibit left-wing indoctrination in schools, minors attending drag shows, and males in female school restrooms.

While Arkansas is the first state to effectively oust a current CCP-owned landowner, 15 states have enacted laws to prohibit such ownership over the past year, and more than 20 other states currently have legislation pending on the issue.