Florida Governor Ron DeSantis connected Sept. 22 signed a caller enforcement bid and unveiled a bundle of legislative proposals to combat “malign overseas influence,” peculiarly from communist China.
“The fig 1 root of that influence, not conscionable successful the United States but truly astir the world, is the Chinese Communist Party,” DeSantis said during an lawsuit astatine Miami Dade College connected Thursday.
Standing down a podium with a “Stop CCP Influence” sign, DeSantis said helium signed an enforcement bid to code the cybersecurity risks posed by overseas companies, particularly those with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“The past happening we privation to spot is the [CCP] getting their mitts onto people’s idiosyncratic information,” DeSantis said.
The caller enforcement order, helium said, prohibits Florida’s authorities agencies from procuring oregon utilizing exertion products and services from companies connected to “foreign countries of concern.” He added that these counties see China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, and “other types of regimes hostile to American interests.”
“This volition forestall the vulnerability of Floridians’ idiosyncratic accusation and exertion systems successful Florida to overseas entities and atrocious actors,” helium said.
“One of the things they [the CCP] similar to bash is usage exertion to beforehand themselves and that includes trying to get idiosyncratic accusation of Americans,” DeSantis said. TikTok was fashionable among teens successful the United States.
The politician singled retired Chinese-owned TikTok, hugely fashionable among young Americans, arsenic a concern.
“They are amassing a batch of data,” helium said of the app. “I deliberation it’s a immense nationalist information risk.”
The short-video app is founded and owned by Bytedance, a Beijing-based tech giant. The societal media company’s Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas confirmed to the Senate Homeland Security connected Sept. 14 that its China-based employees person entree to U.S. users’ data.
The TikTok typical insisted the institution has “very strict entree controls astir the benignant of information that they [China-based employees] tin access.” But the anticipation that the CCP could entree Americans’ data, fixed that Chinese laws compel companies to cooperate with information agencies erstwhile asked, prompted Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to petition Pappas to chopped each U.S. information flows to China. Pappas didn’t marque the commitment during the hearing.
“We truly request to bash much, overmuch more,” DeSantis said connected Sept. 22.
The politician added that helium has projected caller authorities to artifact “government entities from contracting with companies owned by, controlled by, oregon domiciled successful overseas countries of interest if the declaration would supply entree to Floridians’ idiosyncratic information.”
“This is things similar Social Security numbers; it’s things similar your slope relationship information, and it’s things similar your aesculapian records,” helium continued. “That should not beryllium successful the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Purchases of US Land
In summation to the cybersecurity concerns, the politician of the Sunshine State warned astir U.S. onshore being purchased by the groups and companies with ties to the CCP.
DeSantis noted the CCP-affiliated companies person already bought onshore adjacent subject bases successful different states, similar the Grand Forks Air Force Base successful North Dakota.
“Why are they doing that? Of course, they privation to get intelligence; they privation to cognize what’s going connected present successful the United States,” helium said.
Noting that Florida is location to 21 subject bases from each subdivision of the equipped forces, DeSantis announced a caller projected legislative enactment that would curb the acquisition of cultivation onshore and lands adjacent subject bases by overseas countries of concern.
As of 2019, much than 5 percent of the cultivation onshore successful Florida was owned by overseas investors, the fifth-highest successful the United States, according to the Republican governor. While immoderate of the owners are from affable countries similar the UK, helium said millions of Floridians request “a furniture of protection” from the CCP.
DeSantis has antecedently called retired the CCP for China’s monolithic concern successful existent property successful Florida. A July report by the National Association of Realtors showed that Chinese investors were among the apical overseas buyers of U.S. existent estate. From April 2021 to March, Chinese buyers spent $6.1 cardinal connected existing homes, up 30 percent from a twelvemonth ago. Florida was among the apical destinations for their purchases.
“I deliberation it’s a immense problem,” DeSantis said erstwhile asked astir the study successful a July interrogation with Fox News.
“I don’t deliberation they should beryllium capable to bash it,” the politician said astatine that time. “I deliberation the occupation is these companies person ties to the CCP, and it’s not ever evident connected the look of immoderate a institution is doing.”
Scrutinizing College Donations
DeSantis besides wants to measurement up efforts to safeguard higher acquisition institutions’ intelligence spot from the CCP.
A 2021 bill required universities to disclose gifts and donations astatine the worth of $50,000 oregon much from countries of concern. These countries are China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela.
“But adjacent sub-$50,000 donations from individuals and groups pushing the agendas of hostile overseas powers connected assemblage campuses tin undercut world integrity, warp the perspectives of galore students, and sway the probe and penning of galore professors to align with the interests and values of the sources of that funding,” according to his office.
One of the caller legislative proposals, DeSantis said, would prohibition “any acquisition to a higher acquisition instauration successful Florida from immoderate individual, backstage entities, oregon authorities organizations that is domiciled successful a overseas state of concern.”
The politician said helium has witnessed incidents successful caller years involving overseas students oregon researchers coming to American universities and taking intelligence spot backmost to China.
In February 2021, a erstwhile University of Florida prof Lin Yang was indicted for concealing the CCP assistance portion collecting $1.75 cardinal successful U.S. payer assistance wealth for probe that benefited a steadfast helium secretly founded successful China. However, Yang fled to China successful 2019 and hasn’t returned to the United States.
In 2019, the Florida-based Moffitt Cancer Center announced the resignation of its CEO and 5 different elder unit members for “violations of struggle of involvement rules done their enactment successful China.” The connection came aft the probe institute’s interior reappraisal recovered the five’s information successful the Thousand Talents Program, a recruitment program designed by the CCP to pull apical scientists and engineers to enactment successful China.
Frank Fang, Eva Fu, and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to the report.