- Gov. DeSantis issued an executive order Thursday aimed at curbing Communist China’s influence in the Sunshine State
- But China wasn’t the only nation targeted by DeSantis, who also added six other countries of concern to the list of targets
- Those nations will now find it more difficult to conduct espionage or influence operations in Florida by restricting land buys near areas of interest
- The order also prohibits technology procurement of specific services or goods determined by the state to pose a risk to the safety of Florida citizens
Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday issued an executive action and announced legislative proposals aimed at stifling threats posed by the Communist Party of China and other hostile foreign powers in cyberspace, real estate, and academia.
The measures will curtail the intentions of all seven countries on Florida’s list of countries of concern, making it more difficult for China, Cuba, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Venezuela to engage in espionage or influence operations within Florida’s borders and preventing purchases of agricultural land and lands surrounding military bases by those governments or their agents.
“From server farms to farmland, the Communist Party of China has been worming its way into our nation’s data storage systems and buying up tracts of land near sensitive national security sites,” said DeSantis. “By prohibiting the purchase of lands, state contracts with Chinese technology firms, and the infiltration of CCP-affiliated groups such as Confucius Institutes, Florida is leading the way to protect our nation from international foes.”
DeSantis signed Executive Order 22-216 to prohibit government entities from procuring technology products and services from companies owned by, controlled by, or domiciled in foreign countries of concern. The executive order directs the Department of Management Services (DMS) to promulgate rules and take any additional action necessary to ensure commodities and services used by state and local governments are not susceptible to exploitation by foreign countries of concern. This prohibits government entities from procuring or utilizing technology services that have been determined by DMS to pose a risk to the safety and security of Florida due to the company’s connections to or use by a foreign country of concern; a federal agency has prohibited due to a national security concern; and are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by companies or affiliated companies determined by federal or state government agencies to be owned, controlled, or domiciled in a foreign country of concern.
“The Chinese Communist Party cheats on trade, steals our intellectual property, and produces deadly drugs like fentanyl that are pouring into our southern border,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Governor DeSantis’ announcements today are not only critical to protecting American interests and Florida farmlands but also to maintaining our national security. Florida will never kowtow to the oppressive regime of China.”
DeSantis also proposed legislative action to prohibit government entities from contracting with companies owned by, controlled by, or domiciled in foreign countries of concern if the contract would provide access to Floridians’ personal information. This prohibition would include the bidding, submitting a proposal for, or entering into or renewing a contract with a government entity if the contract would provide the company with access to an individual’s name in combination with a Social Security number, driver’s license, financial account numbers, medical history, insurance policy numbers, etc.
Following today’s announcement, Carlos Trujillo, a former state lawmaker and U.S. Ambassador, issued a statement praising DeSantis’ crackdown.
“Huge win today for Gov DeSantis and the Florida Legislature who took action against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on combatting Chinese influence. The CCP has been actively trying to expand its power since the Cold War, by manipulating, stealing, and taking over U.S. technology, land, and our higher education institutions. Today’s EO bans state government entities in Florida from purchasing any technology from nefarious countries such as China, Iran, Russia, and Cuba. Protecting our state networks is crucial so that Floridian’s information and data aren’t compromised by nefarious actors – this also ensures that our hardware and systems are American-made. Today’s announcement and legislation agenda is a huge step in mitigating the CCP influence not only in Florida but across the country,” said Trujillo.
“Gov DeSantis and his administration continue to demonstrate strong leadership against the CCP. While the Biden Administration and Charlie Crist negotiate policies and lift sanctions on communist countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Colombia (which welcome the CCP with open arms), Gov. DeSantis protects Floridians’ freedom and values, and it’s clear that he does not and will not stand for or with communism,” he added.
The full executive order can be found here.