Farming weed, cultivating academics, and conning California.
The legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, has not, as some politicians proclaimed, eliminated the black market for cannabis. Illicit weed grows are common in California, often manned by U.S. citizens or Mexican nationals in the country illegally. Like Sollozzo in The Godfather, the Chinese are now moving in on the market.
As the Sacramento Bee reports, in recent police raids, “the occupants of these grow houses have turned out to be Chinese nationals, raising questions about who is recruiting them and financing their operations.” In four California counties, police made “multiple arrests of people with Chinese passports, some of them speaking no English and apparently providing little help to investigators.”
In one case, “money from a southern China bank account was transferred to California to pay for down payments on homes that later became grow houses, suggesting that at least some in China are investing in the illicit U.S. marijuana market.”
Police call it a “sophisticated operation” run by businessmen. They purchase suburban houses with cash and hire electricians to bypass the electricity meters, “so growers can tap a free source of power to run grow lights and fans.”
According to police officials interviewed by the Bee, the arrestees are “experienced farmers from poor Chinese provinces, often in their 50s and 60s. Some have been smuggled into the United States, but many arrive with Chinese passports, presumably arranged by the grow-house operators.” Their B-1 or B-2 visas allow them to stay in the United States up to six months.
In Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2015, grow houses are popping up in every neighborhood, and in one case all 14 suspects were Chinese citizens. In Nevada, Chinese national Jianguo Han, 66, was convicted of running a large-scale marijuana operation in two Las Vegas houses.
China summarily executes drug dealers, foreign and domestic, but when their overseas nationals get busted, China refuses to take them back. This saddles the United States with more costs, and makes China’s stateside weed business even more profitable. The regime is also busily cultivating regions where the soil is even more fertile.
“Some American universities have established ties with China through what are called Confucius Institutes (CI),” notes columnist George Leef. Beginning in 2005, the Chinese government has established more than 100 CI American colleges and universities, and “hundreds more in primary and secondary schools” and it’s all “funded by an agency of the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education called the Hanban.”
Leef finds nothing objectionable about the study of Chinese language and culture. Trouble is, “academic freedom is an alien concept in China, where the tradition of state control over most aspects of life means that universities must conform to the official ideology.” This comes through in the Confucius Institute agenda.
The CI program pressures American schools to disinvite speakers it doesn’t want students to hear. At North Carolina State, for example, CI was responsible for disinviting the Dalai Lama. CI bocks access to articles touching on the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Cultural Revolution, and Chinese control of Tibet. Under Mao Zedong one of the worst mass murderers in history, China’s Communist regime invaded and occupied Tibet in 1950 and quashed a revolt in 1959.
The University of Chicago dropped the Confucius Institute but other schools continue to collaborate. This troubles Leef because the Chinese government “is focused on control and therefore wants to prevent the spread of criticism and dissent.” Many American academics are okay with that, and by all indications so is the government of California.
The ongoing human rights violations of China’s one-party Communist regime proved no obstacle to the use of Chinese steel in the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Politicians and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the state’s equivalent of the Soviet Gosplan, claimed this would save money. It didn’t turn out that way.
The new span came in ten years late and $5 billion over cost. As hearings revealed, the brittle Chinese steel and inexperienced Chinese welders led to serious safety issues with cracked bolts, cracked rods, and corrosion issues. Bay Area residents who have declined to use the bridge include Abolhassan Astaneh-Asi, professor of structural engineering, mechanics and materials at UC Berkeley. When notified of the safety concerns, recurring California governor Jerry Brown famously said, “Don’t know if it’s a setback. I mean, look, shit happens.”
Brown recently signed legislation making California a sanctuary state, open defiance of U.S. immigration law. Governor Brown and attorney Xavier Becerra don’t want to send anybody back to their native land, and China won’t take back its own criminals. That’s a dream dialectic for the Chinese, whose grow-houses are working three shifts all across the Golden State.
As Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) might have put in in Murder by Death, “Confucius say, colonial policy good for China but bad deal for United States.”