In the SCMP article you linked Du Ying, former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, "warned against directly buying or leasing land overseas to grow grain because it would provoke “strong political and social sensitivities.”

What to make of how much farmland China has been buying in the U.S.? Like real estate, foreign investors/corporations face shockingly few obstacles. Sen. Cotton has written a bill that might stop more foreign acquisitions of farmland. The Chinese clearly understand that there are "sensitivities" that go along with selling out a nation's most essential resources — land for growing food — but the U.S. political climate is so toxic commonsense is far from common ground.

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