Gov. DeSantis Takes Action Against US’ ‘Greatest Geopolitical Threat’

By Published on May 9, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed three bills into law on Monday aimed at combating “the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party” in the Sunshine State.

“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“I’m proud to sign this legislation to stop the purchase of our farmland and land near our military bases and critical infrastructure by Chinese agents, to stop sensitive digital data from being stored in China, and to stop CCP influence in our education system from grade school to grad school,” the Florida governor said. “We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”

DeSantis signed SB 846, which “prohibits state colleges and universities and their employees and representatives from soliciting or accepting any gift in their official capacities from a college or university based in a foreign country of concern.” He also signed SB 264, which “restricts governmental entities from contracting with foreign countries and entities of concern and restricts conveyances of agricultural lands and other interests in real property to foreign principals, the People’s Republic of China, and other entities and persons that are affiliated with them,” according to the governor’s office.

DeSantis also signed SB 258, which “requires the Department of Management Services to create a list of prohibited applications owned by a foreign principal or foreign countries of concern, including China, which present a cybersecurity and data privacy risk,” according to the governor’s office.

“Food security is national security, and we have a responsibility to ensure Floridians have access to a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply,” Wilton Simpson, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture, said in a statement. “China and other hostile foreign nations control hundreds of thousands of acres of critical agricultural lands in the U.S., leaving our food supply and our national security interests at risk.”

“Restricting China and other hostile foreign nations from controlling Florida’s agricultural land and lands near critical infrastructure facilities protects our state, provides long-term stability, and preserves our economic freedom,” Simpson said.

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“The CCP’s acquisition of farmland, infiltration of American education, and ongoing military expansion have made China the most significant threat to U.S. national security today,” Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement. “The bills signed by Governor DeSantis counter the growing threat from China by prohibiting companies linked to the CCP from purchasing farmland, preventing universities from accepting gifts and partnerships from universities in hostile foreign countries, and requiring applications linked to hostile countries to be removed from government devices.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have shown thoughtful and strong leadership in protecting Florida’s critical infrastructure and preventing sensitive data from being weaponized against the U.S.,” Anderson added. “Other states should look to Florida as a policy road map for protecting their interests from foreign threats.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Heritage Action.


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