Gov. Ron DeSantis has passed a bill banning Chinese citizens from buying land in the state of Florida.
Bill SB 264, titled “SB 264: Interests of Foreign Countries,” is scheduled to take effect on July 1 and will prohibit Chinese citizens from “purchasing or acquiring real property” or from having more than a small “indirect interest in such real property” in Florida.
The Republican governor said the legislation “makes it very clear we don’t want the Chinese Communist Party (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 during the bill-signing in Brooksville on 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.”
SB 264 holds an exception for Chinese visa holders, who are permitted to be in ownership of one home as long as they are registered with a state agency.
The bill, which previously passed the House with a 95-17 vote and the Senate with a 31-8 vote, will, however, limit Chinese citizens with non-tourist visas to acquiring less than two acres of land that is at least five miles away from any military installations.
It also restricts foreign citizens from Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria to purchase land within 10 miles of military bases.
DeSantis has previously shown opposition to Chinese purchases of state land.
In an appearance on Fox News last year, the Florida governor described residential real estate ownership by Chinese entities as a “huge problem.”
At a press conference in January, DeSantis said, “If you look at the Chinese Communist Party, they’ve been very active throughout the Western Hemisphere in gobbling up land. That is not in the best interests of Florida to have the Chinese Communist Party owning farmland, owning land close to military bases.”
Other than property, DeSantis has also signed two other bills that are intended to curb the influence of the CCP, including banning the use of TikTok and WeChat.
Bill SB 258 prohibits the Chinese-owned social media platforms from running on school and government devices. Students would not be able to access TikTok or WeChat on their personal devices while using a school or government Wi-Fi network.
The other bill, SB 846, limits colleges and universities in Florida from building relationships with foreign “countries of concern,” including prohibiting universities from accepting funding from China.
Last month, there were more than 100 people protesting against the legislation, expressing concern that it would lead to racial profiling and discrimination against Florida’s Chinese population.
Florida’s bill is not the first to pass against Chinese land ownership. In March, South Carolina’s senate passed a bill preventing “alien land ownership.” There are eleven other states that have considered or taken legislative action regarding property ownership.