On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) signed several bills into law targeting Chinese subversion tactics, including purchases of American land, collaboration with American universities, and the use of popular Chinese-owned apps on government devices.
As reported by The Hill, DeSantis signed three bills – SB 246, SB 258, and SB 846 – into law, detailing the purpose of each law in a press release. The bills are an effort to combat the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has carried out many strategic efforts across the United States to undermine state and local governments, as well as the federal government.
SB 264, the Interests of Foreign Countries Act, prohibits “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.” A small exception has been made in the law for Chinese citizens with non-tourist visas, who may be allowed to purchase land no larger than two acres, and must be located at least 5 miles away from any military base.
SB 864, the Agreements of Educational Entities with Foreign Entities Act, forbids public colleges and universities in the state of Florida, as well as their employees and representatives, from accepting any gifts “in their official capacities from a college or university based in a foreign country of concern.” The law also bars public colleges and universities from participating in any collaboration with a foreign university, unless such a venture is authorized by the State Board of Education or the Florida Board of Governors.
The third bill, SB 258, requires Florida’s 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.” The law also orders government and educational institutions to bar access to prohibited applications on all government servers and devices in the state, giving employers the authority to completely wipe such apps from government devices; this component is meant to target apps such as TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app that has raised numerous national security and privacy concerns amid a spike in popularity with younger Americans such as Generation Z.
“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” said DeSantis in his 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. We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”