Communities in rural Michigan are revolting against a decision to allow a Chinese-owned firm to build a battery plant in the area, according to footage of a recent Green Charter Township board meeting obtained by conservative outlet The Midwesterner.
More than 100 residents of Green Charter Township and Big Rapids in rural Mecosta County, Michigan, showed up to the March 14 meeting to voice concerns over the presence of the Chinese-owned company, Gotion Global, amid growing concern over national security issues related to China.
"The thing that drives some the most crazy about this is that this is a Chinese-owned company. A Chinese-owned company is a communist company. Why would you bring a communist company to Big Rapids, Michigan, when we have troops mobilizing right now to fight China?" one resident, who identified himself as an Iraq War veteran, told the town's board members.
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"Why would we invite the enemy to come spy on us? All the things on here are bad, but the thing that drives me the most nuts is that it is our enemy, not the Chinese people. I have nothing against the Chinese people because they suffer under the same communism that you all are trying to bring here. It's disgusting."
Other residents echoed that sentiment, warning against giving China the opportunity to reach its "tentacles" further into the U.S. and arguing there should be "American companies on American soil."
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, who narrowly lost to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year, has been one of the sharpest critics of allowing a Chinese-owned company to build in Michigan.
"The residents who spoke out against the Big Rapids communist Chinese battery plant were clear, focused, and on point. Township leaders would do well to listen to them and heed their concerns. National security over the promise of jobs!" she wrote on Twitter following the town meeting.
"I stand with the residents fighting back against having a 700-acre Chinese battery plant in their backyard that could easily double as a base for spying on Americans. No Gotion in Michigan!"
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Michigan lawmakers also approved $585 million in funding from the state to go toward the building of the plant, along with two others, that would produce electric vehicle batteries. The plant was approved for construction by a state economic development board and was originally supposed be constructed on land in both Big Rapids and Green Charter Township.
Last month, Gotion put the planned construction in Big Rapids on hold after the town board unanimously voted days earlier to request a federal review for any potential national security risks associated with having a Chinese-owned company in the area, according to a report by The Detroit News.
Earlier this month, the company said the plant was "not a done deal," citing the pushback from local residents.
Not all members of the community oppose the project. Some of its supporters have touted the thousands of jobs that would be brought to the area should the plant be constructed.
Green Charter Township will hold another meeting April 5 with the proposed plant on the agenda.