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Protecting US Food Security: DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Chinese Citizens from Buying Land in Florida

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Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed a number of bills aimed at reducing Chinese influence in the state, including one that bans Chinese citizens from purchasing land in the state unless they are also US citizens or permanent residents. This move comes amid concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts to acquire farmland throughout the United States, including in Florida.

During a press conference in Brooksville, Florida, DeSantis spoke about the importance of food security, saying that “we don’t want the CCP in charge of any food production.” He emphasized that “food security is also national security,” and that it is crucial to prevent the CCP from acquiring land for food production in the United States.

China currently owns 352,140 acres of US land, according to the US Department of Agriculture, which is approximately 1% of total foreign-held acres. Canadian investors owned the most foreign land in the US in 2020, with 12.4 million acres. Senate Bill 264, which DeSantis signed, also bans citizens of Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela from owning land within 10 miles of military bases and critical infrastructure like airports and power plants. However, only residents of China will be banned from owning land anywhere in Florida.

The move has drawn criticism from some Chinese-Americans who testified against the bill last month, fearing it could lead to discrimination. Others worry that the ban would prevent them from buying homes if they have not yet become lawful permanent residents. One H-1B visa holder, Zihua Hé, expressed concern that he would no longer be able to buy a house in Florida, saying, “It’s a part of my American dream.”

DeSantis has signed two additional bills aimed at reducing China’s influence in Florida. Senate Bill 258 blocks access to apps like TikTok on government-issued devices and networks, citing cybersecurity and privacy concerns. Senate Bill 846 prohibits Florida state universities and colleges from accepting grants from “foreign countries of concern” or participating in partnerships with universities based in such countries unless specific conditions are met.

DeSantis hopes that other states will follow Florida’s lead in combating the CCP’s influence. “We really need to have a unified effort in this country to deter the CCP’s ambitions and their influence,” he said, adding that “part of that is asserting our economic sovereignty.”

The move by Governor DeSantis has drawn attention and speculation about his future political ambitions. Now that Florida’s legislative session is over, he appears to be looking towards the future, including a potential presidential run in 2024. He has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s handling of the pandemic and has gained a significant following among conservatives across the country.

In addition to the bills aimed at reducing China’s influence in Florida, DeSantis also praised the passage of other laws during the legislative session, including measures aimed at “kneecapping” ESG in Florida, permitting the death penalty for those convicted of sexually abusing children, cracking down on fentanyl dealers, and more.

Overall, Governor DeSantis’s move to ban Chinese citizens from buying land in Florida has been met with both praise and criticism. While some applaud his efforts to protect US food security and reduce China’s influence in the state, others express concern about the potential for discrimination and its impact on Chinese-Americans living in Florida.

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