Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke with Fox News host Laura Ingraham about his efforts to cut ties with China and the growing concern over the communist country buying up U.S. real estate — $6.1 billion worth of which was purchased by Chinese investors in the past year alone.
DeSantis featured on Friday’s “The Ingraham Angle” segment to talk about several topics, including Florida being a “sanctuary state” to “freedom and prosperity” and Biden’s “war on energy” with oil prices.
Ingraham then turned the governor’s attention to China and the issue of what Fox News described as China “gobbling up” U.S. land, both residential and farmland.
Chinese investors, including those from Taiwan and Hong Kong, bought a record $6.1 billion in U.S. real estate in the past year, ending in March. In the past decade, Chinese nationals have comprised the largest foreign group of real estate buyers in the U.S. with over $188 billion.
DeSantis began by explaining that it is “not always apparent” what Chinese companies in the U.S. are doing, and this, he stated, is “a huge problem — the influence that they have.”
Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. sold several billions worth of telecommunications equipment to the U.S. and is now thought to be capable of potentially disrupting U.S. nuclear arsenal communications, as reported by the FBI.
Despite Congress’ efforts to remove Chinese-made Huawei and ZTE cellular technology in rural parts of America by approving a $1.9 billion budget to the cause, companies have yet to receive the federal reimbursement money and none of the around 24,000 pieces of equipment have been removed.
This is thought to be a potentially catastrophic national security issue, adding to growing suspicions of Chinese investments — i.e. real estate and tech equipment — as rooted in espionage.
For example, Chinese company Fufeng Group also purchased 300 acres of Dakota farmland in July, a property approximately 20 minutes from Grand Forks Air Force Base, which specializes in military drone technology.
In 2017, the Chinese government offered to build a $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. under the condition that its building materials be shipped in diplomatic pouches, exempting them from U.S. Customs examination.
Federal officials have kept a close eye on Chinese land purchases, especially ones within a close distance to military and government facilities, even with the Chinese government’s strong denials of spying accusations.
DeSantis also added that under his tenure he has “signed legislation to crack down on undue influence from rogue states including the [Chinese Communist Party].”
One such example is the banning of Confucius institutes in his home state.
“They tried to go into higher education and they tried to spread the propaganda,” he says, referring to Confucianism’s strong influence on Asian values.
DeSantis is thought to be a potential Republican presidential candidate for the 2024 election, having raised a record $111 million for his reelection campaign. The Sunshine State governor gained widespread popularity for his conservative stances on COVID-shutdowns, vaccines and competition with China, who he describes to be the U.S.’ “number one adversary.”