Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday that bans citizens from “countries of concern,” including China, from purchasing property in the Sunshine State.
The new laws, which DeSantis characterized as a “crackdown on Communist China,” prevent foreign entities and officers from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria from buying farmland or any property within 10 miles of any military installation, seaport, airport, power plant, water treatment facility or any other location deemed critical infrastructure.
The new law also bans citizens from those countries of concern who are not lawful permanent US residents from owning any real estate in Florida.
Anyone connected with the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party is also barred from purchasing real estate in Florida under the new laws.
“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” DeSantis said on Monday during the bill-signing ceremony.
“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. We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”
Those knowingly selling property in violation of the new regulations may be subject to civil and criminal penalties, and the new laws allow the state to seize property improperly obtained by foreign nationals.
The legislation also prohibits state colleges and universities from soliciting or accepting gifts and grants from foreign countries of concern and bans private schools from being owned or controlled by adversarial nations.
DeSantis said the legislation, which goes into effect July 1, “makes it very clear we don’t want the CCP in the Sunshine State.”
“They have established a position of economic might, of industrial hegemony, and their military is far stronger today than it was 20 or 25 years ago,” DeSantis said Monday. “They have a leader who’s very ideological and is intent on expanding CCP influence, not just in their region but even around the globe.”
He also laid blame for China’s increasing might on “elites in our own country” who for a generation have favored “short-term profits” by getting in bed with Beijing.
Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, a Democrat, opposed the legislation, arguing that it was “overly broad” and veered “into the area of national origin discrimination”
DeSantis, who late last month wrapped up a trade mission that took him to Japan, South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom, is believed to be considering a 2024 presidential run — with an announcement expected as soon as this month.