Spy vs Spy: China Infesting and Spying on Countries for Years

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu Sep 15 21:50:34 PDT 2022

Locals in North Dakota Oppose Massive Corn Mill Project by Chinese Company

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota—One by one, residents opposed to a corn mill
investment by a Chinese company with reputed ties to the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) through its chairman, got up to chastise the
mayor and city council of Grand Forks, North Dakota.

“You guys are the scariest people I know. You are willing to endanger
this city, the people, the country, and this nation,” said Dennis
Kadlec, an outspoken critic of the project.

He believes city officials have ignored residents’ concerns over the
project and the flag they serve.

“This is a republic. Please treat it as such,” Kadlec said.
Epoch Times Photo Jodi Carlson is lead organizer of the Concerned
Citizens for Fufeng Project, a non-partisan grass roots group that
opposes the increases presence of Chinese-owned businesses in Grand
Forks, N.D. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

Kadlec’s accusations of inaction and secrecy on the part of city
officials seemed to resonate with other concerned citizens at the city
council meeting on Sept. 6.

The group views the corn mill as a potential Chinese spying operation
and a threat to the environment and municipal resources.

Some residents see divisions over the project worsening in a
close-knit agricultural community of 56,000, where sugar beets and
wheat—not corn—are king.

The city of Grand Forks is not a significant producer of corn, either,
straddling the Minnesota border about 75 miles south of Canada, where
winter temperatures can drop to well below zero.

So the question arises: why would a Chinese company build a corn mill
in Grand Forks when harvest volumes are so low?

Critics who fear Chinese espionage say one needs to look no further
than Grand Forks Air Force Base, about 12 miles away. The base stores
and tests the military’s sensitive drone, satellite, and surveillance

However, city officials supporting the corn mill see the project as an
economic opportunity too good to pass up. As the most significant
single capital investment in the city’s history, it promises 230
permanent high-paying jobs, higher corn prices for regional growers,
and other long-term benefits.

Fufeng USA, the American subsidiary of Fufeng Group, wants to build on
370 acres it acquired that would add millions in sales and property
tax revenues and improve city infrastructure.

The “wet corn” mill would employ thousands of workers during
construction and, in operation, extract ingredients used to produce
animal feed products for sale in the domestic market.
Epoch Times Photo The proposed construction site for a multi-million
dollar corn mill includes 370 acres of former agricultural land on the
outskirts of the city of Grand Forks, N.D. (Allan Stein/The Epoch

At least on paper, the project looks and sounds good.

What doesn’t sit well with project opponents is the parent company,
Fufeng Group, which is based in Shandong Province in China. The
company has reputed links with the CCP through its chairman and
controlling shareholder, Li Xuechun.

Many residents opposed to the corn mill also feel the city has been
translucent in moving the project along, voting to annex land without
proper notice to business abutters to sell to Fufeng USA.

Some residents have felt so neglected by the local powers that Jodi
Carlson and several others recently formed the Concerned Citizens of
Fufeng Project in Grand Forks.

The public group has nearly 3,000 followers on Facebook and vehemently
opposes the corn mill project.

Group meetings have become “very contentious,” Carlson told The Epoch
Times, “primarily because we’re just tired. The city council continues
to say they’ve answered our questions and haven’t. We still have a lot
of questions.”

One question is what Fufeng USA plans to do with 250 acres not listed
in the development plan, Carlson said.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with that. We think we have a
right [to know], especially since it’s a foreign interest. We don’t
think [the city council] vetted it properly. We have a lot of

Two U.S. Senators representing North Dakota have raised alarm bells
over potential national security issues surrounding the Fufeng USA
project amid building tensions between the United States and China
over Taiwan.

City officials reportedly vowed to stop the project should China invade Taiwan.
Epoch Times Photo Frank Matejcek, a retired farmer and resident of
Falconer Township bordering Grand Forks, N.D., says a proposed corn
mill by a Chinese company would use nearly as much water as the city
consumes in a day—more than 6 million gallons. Matejcek is a member of
a concerned citizens’ group which opposes the project. (Allan
Stein/The Epoch Times)

On July 14, Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and
John Hoeven (R-N.D.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
and Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, requesting a full
review to address military security concerns.

As a result, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
(CFIUS), an interagency panel overseen by the Treasury Department in
business matters involving national security, has stepped in to review
the project proposal.

Grand Forks city officials announced the land deal with Fufeng in
November 2021 and approved the development agreement in July. The city
then changed the land designation to an industrial zone from
agricultural to allow the project to go forward under federal law.

“We don’t want [the mill]. We don’t want it here in Grand Forks,” said
Concerned Citizens group member Frank Matejcek, a retired farmer who
lives next door in rural Falconer Township, population 140, where the
city of Grand Forks annexed some 40 businesses.

“We don’t want it because of the pollution. We don’t want it because
of water usage. We don’t want it because of the communist connection
with China. [But] the communist connection with China isn’t the only
thing,” Matejcek told The Epoch Times.

Some residents are concerned the mill will drain limited municipal
resources. In its current design, the corn mill would draw roughly the
same amount of water—more than 6 million gallons—from the Red River
that the city consumes daily.

“What’s it going to be in a couple of years? We had to ration water
last year” during a drought, Matejcek said.

“These city officials claim that the town will die if we don’t do this
project. That’s a bunch of [garbage]. We’ve got plenty of agriculture.
There is the North Dakota mill—North Dakota Mill and Elevator—the
biggest flour mill in the world.”

Al Nieuwsma, the owner of Al’s Diesel Injection and a Falconer
Township resident, said the city annexed his business property to make
way for the corn mill project.
Epoch Times Photo The first RQ-4 Global Hawk arrives to Grand Forks
Air Force Base May 26, 2011. (Tech. Sgt. Johnny Saldivar/U.S. Air

He said he now pays the city of Grand Forks property taxes six times
what he previously paid the township, including municipal fees.

He considers the Fufeng project “a bad deal” all around.

“It’s a bad deal for the city. It’s a bad deal for our community right
here,” Nieuwsma said. “And it’s going to be terrible for the overall

“I wouldn’t put anything past China. But for me—right here—it’s too
close. The pollution—the stink, the traffic, the [depletion of]
resources—terrible,” Nieuwsma told The Epoch Times.

“I’ll tell you what, it should never have happened. If I had known
more about this [project] earlier, I would have done more to prevent
it from happening.”

Concerned Citizens group member Sheila Spicer said she doesn’t want to
see any Chinese company doing business in the community.

“I do not want [Fufeng USA] in our town—I don’t want them in our
country. For one, I do not want a Chinese communist company here.
You’ve got to be smart enough to know that. Water pollution—you name
it. There are tons of reasons,” Spicer told The Epoch Times.

The CFIUS review looks to be the final hurdle Fufeng has to overcome
to begin construction in 2024 or 2025 at a total projected cost of
about $350 million.
Epoch Times Photo Another sign spells out the concerns many residents
have over a proposed corn mill in Grand Forks, N.D. (Allan Stein/The
Epoch Times)

The question is whether CFIUS has the legal authority to perform the review.

The law firm representing Fufeng believes the land acquisition through
annexation does not amount to a business purchase. Therefore, it does
not fall under CFIUS’s legal jurisdiction for review.

Still, the CFIUS review could take months to complete if the committee
moves forward. In the meantime, CFIUS requested more time and
information from Fufeng before deciding whether to conduct the review.

Despite the delay, most of the Grand Forks City County voted approval
on Sept. 6 for various projects relating to a stormwater pond and
water main construction design along three main highways.

At the meeting, Carlson and several other citizen group members
criticized city officials openly for their alleged lack of

“We hear lies about the equipment, the water—lies about a lot of
stuff. When does the truth start?” Carlson asked the council.

Kadlec accused council members of choosing a “godless entity” to
further large-scale business interests.

“When you’re godless, you’re godless. When you’re godless, you don’t
have that much knowledge or wisdom,” Kadlec said.

Addressing the seven-member council, Michael Coachman shared how one
city official accused him of “undermining the republic” for asking
questions about the project.
Epoch Times Photo The city of Grand Forks, N.D., sits near the
Minnesota border about 75 south of Canada. Many residents feel the
city grows too little corn to justify the presence of a corn mill by a
Chinese company in the city. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

“How am I threatening the republic? I’m asking questions dealing with
the Constitution,” Coachman said. “Everything I am doing is based on
what you are doing.”

Another concerned citizen, who asked to remain anonymous, said she
fears military surveillance by the Chinese government using Fufeng as
a shell company.

“I’m afraid of them accessing our infrastructure on all levels. The
development agreement gives them access to our water, power, air, and
roads. They’re giving them access to everything.”

While “always nice for a city to make more money,” she told The Epoch
Times, “we are not hurting in the city.”

“There’s a misallocation of resources,” she said. “The problem with
the city is not that they don’t have money; it’s the mismanagement of
it. Corn doesn’t grow here. Sugar beets grow here. There’s a little
corn, but it’s not ideal conditions.”

In an Oct. 27, 2021, email to North Dakota Gov. Doug Bergum, a
Republican, Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski expressed “great news”
that Fufeng Group had selected Grand Forks as its North American

Before finalizing a development agreement, however, Bochenski advised
in the letter to “keep the information out of the public, for the time
being, we need to finalize the details.”

Ward 2 city councilor Rebecca Osowski told The Epoch Times she agreed
that the land annexation took place without proper notice and that the
project lacks transparency.
Epoch Times Photo Grand Forks Air Force Base is located about 12 miles
from the city of Grand Forks, N.D. Residents have organized to oppose
a corn mill investment by a Chinese company with reputed ties to the
Chinese Communist Party through its company chairman. (Allan Stein/The
Epoch Times)

“I am against the project and do not vote to support the
infrastructure items until things have been settled,” Osowski said.

The six other city council members did not respond to a request for comment.

In an email to The Epoch Times, Bochenski, a Republican, acknowledged
public opposition to the project based on environmental concerns,
questions regarding annexation, and the “overall deterioration of the
relationship between the U.S. and China over Taiwan.

“The city council and I have shared similar concerns and set forth a
development agreement to study these concerns, which has been ongoing
for 10 months,” Bochenski said. “The city requested Fufeng to
voluntarily submit [to] the Committee on Foreign Investment in the
United States (CFIUS), which reviews national security concerns.”

CFIUS’s findings should come in the next few months, and only design
work can take place before then, “which is at the financial risk of
Fufeng,” the mayor added.

Bochenski said the former land owners requested the annexation of
land, which followed the requirements set forth by the state of North

“As to the unfounded personal attacks, that is the nature of politics
these days, unfortunately,” Bochenski said.
Epoch Times Photo Jodi Carlson of the Concerned Citizens for Fufeng
Project addresses the Grand Forks City Council on Sept. 6. Carlson and
several others attended the meeting to express their concerns over
potential spying and pollution by a Chinese company with reputed ties
to the Chinese Communist Party. The company plans to build a corn mill
on the fringes of the city on 370 acres. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

At the Urban Stampede coffee shop in downtown Grand Forks, Jim and Rex
were having a friendly game of backgammon and talking about local

“Everybody spies on everyone else,” said Jim, a self-described
capitalist who isn’t worried about the proposed corn mill owned by a
Chinese company.

“I mean, the Russians are spying on us. The Chinese are spying on us.
Everybody is spying on everybody so that I wouldn’t worry about that,”
he told The Epoch Times.

The upshot is that the corn mill would “help bring manufacturing jobs
to the area and process the corn to a usable product,” he said.

Despite much consternation over the project’s alleged lack of
transparency, Rex said, “this has been one of the most transparent
things [and] the city council has done a good job explaining what
they’re doing every step along the way.

“As long as you read the newspaper and follow the [city] website—if
you don’t know what’s going on, it’s your fault.”

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