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Chinese citizens speak out against legislation preventing their acquisition of property

APR spoke to several Chinese people who are citizens or reside in Alabama who were outraged by this legislation. 

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Chinese-Americans and their allies in Alabama are speaking out strongly in opposition to a bill that would prohibit Chinese citizens from obtaining “real property” in the state. 

The legislation, HB379 or the “Alabama Property Protection Act”, is sponsored by House Majority Leader Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle. Stadthagen said the impetus for the bill was the “concern of national threat from China”. The bill states that it prohibits Chinese citizens, the Chinese government, or Chinese entities from acquiring real property in the state.

APR spoke to several Chinese people who are citizens or reside in Alabama who were outraged by this legislation. 

Lily Moore, a real estate agent and Vice President of the Central Alabama Association of Chinese (CAAC), said the legislation was an explicit violation of the Fair Housing Act. 

“This law contradicts our Fair Housing Act, because we are encouraged not to sell a house according to race, color, religion, or nationality,” Moore said.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, or familial status. 

Moore added that many Chinese people are currently facing harassment and bullying due to xenophobic anti-China hate following the emergence of covid-19. She felt this bill would only make it even more unsafe and increase hate targeted towards Chinese people

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Linyuan Guo-Brennan, Secretary for CAAC and Professor of Global Leadership at Troy University, said she believed the legislation was just an attempt to use hatred to rally more votes for the upcoming 2024 election cycle. Linyuan also added how ironic and absurd it was that this legislation was presented and passed during Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

14 other states have presented similar bills throughout the country recently. There is also similar legislation being proposed at the federal level by Senator Katie Britt, R-Alabama, and Senator Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas. The bill titled the “Not One More Inch or Acre Act,” would restrict citizens of China, members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or any entity acting on their behalf from purchasing real estate in the United States. 

Michael Guo-Brennan, Associate Professor and MPA Program Director at Troy University, questioned how the bill would be enforced and the economic impact of the bill. Michael also likened the legislation to the Japanese internment during World War II.

“There’s no basis for targeting one specific nationality and it really hasn’t been done since World War II when the Japanese were placed in internment camps.”

Michael also said that Chinese ownership of land only accounted for less than 1 percent of all land ownership in the country so it effectively was not even a real problem.

Dr. Daowei Zhang, Associate Dean for Research, College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment at Auburn University, stated that the legislation violated several statutes of the constitution including the the Equal Protection Clause, due process, and the Foreign Affairs Clause.

Dr. Bowei Tan who works at Jackson Hospital said that he felt disrespected and devalued as a citizen and taxpayer. Tan said that he has served countless individuals that are part of his community and now he “doesn’t even deserve a home.” 

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Tan said that the state’s healthcare system was already lacking workers and the bill would disincentivize potential international doctors or nurses from coming to study and work there.

Each of the commenters stated that the legislation would have negative adverse effects on Alabama’s economy.

In 2022, China was the second largest foreign export in Alabama behind Germany. $3.8 billion came from China indicating a 10 percent increase. The proposed legislation could potentially jeopardize China and Chinese-based companies from doing business with Alabama.

Troy University provided APR with a statement regarding the legislation: 

“As an international university with faculty, staff, and students from around the world, Troy University officials are monitoring this bill as it moves through the legislative process. It is our hope lawmakers will carefully consider the full impact of this legislation while they address concerns raised by their constituents.”

The legislation passed the House last week and will be heard by a Senate committee for further debate and potential passage.


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Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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