Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Thursday prohibiting state agencies from contracting with Chinese-based companies for projects that could allow them to access Floridians’ personal data. It’s part of a broader crackdown on the Chinese government’s attempts to “infiltrate” institutions throughout the country.
DeSantis also said he’ll push the Legislature next year to ban gifts from certain “malign” foreign countries, such as China, Russia, Cuba and Iran, to higher education institutions.
The Legislature last year passed HB 7017, requiring universities and colleges to disclose any gifts worth more than $50,000, but DeSantis wants to go further. Under his proposal, any government agency, including local governments, wouldn’t be able to contract with Chinese-based companies if the contract allows access to personal data.
“This is things like Social Security numbers, it’s things like your bank account information, and it’s things like your medical records,” DeSantis said during an event at Miami-Dade College. “That should not be in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
DeSantis also bashed the tactic of the Chinese government of buying tracts of agricultural land in the U.S., as well as land nearby U.S. military institutions. He said more than 5% of Florida’s agricultural land is foreign-owned, although he admitted that includes friendly countries such as the United Kingdom and didn’t specify how much Florida land was owned by the Chinese government.
China is the top exporter of goods to Florida, sending $12.7 billion of goods to the Sunshine State in 2021. That’s $5 billion more than the next-highest country, Mexico, and covers 13.6% of all Florida imports. It’s also the 10th-most popular destination for Florida exports, receiving $1.5 billion worth of Florida goods last year, according to Enterprise Florida data.
Enterprise Florida is the state’s private-public economic development agency, which DeSantis Chairs. Its website lists Hong Kong among its international offices.
Within the last decade, a series of incidents involving professors at universities throughout the country and in Florida absconding to China with intellectual property and possible military secrets sparked alarm among U.S. officials.
A former University of Florida professor, Lin Yang, was indicted in February 2021 for making false statements to U.S. officials and obtaining a $1.75 million grant from the National Institutes of Health under false pretenses. Yang had fled to China two years earlier, however.
Also, four University of Central Florida professors have fled to China since 2016, even as law enforcement sought to question some of them over their ties to Chinese institutions. Six Moffitt Cancer Center researchers resigned in 2019 following reports they didn’t disclose their ties to China. Miami-Dade College also closed its Confucius Institute program in 2019, which was accused of being a front for the Chinese government to promote its interests.
If DeSantis wins re-election in November, he’ll ask lawmakers to pass the measures in their next Regular Session, which begins March 7.
Carlos Trujillo, a former state lawmaker and U.S. Ambassador, issued a statement praising the executive order.
“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,” he said.
September 22, 2022 at 4:10 pm
Tom is a neo nazi, Chinese propagandist. Should be banned and thrown in jail. I call the FBI…
September 22, 2022 at 5:27 pm
Joey Loser, thanks for continuing to make me the FP legend.
It’s been established you are a chi com bot, soros tic toc.
You were forewarned. You made mistake as have others previously.
Go back to the incest nest.
September 22, 2022 at 6:46 pm
Legendary imbecile… nobody really even knows what the hell you are talking about half the time. Just gibberish..
September 22, 2022 at 8:15 pm
As if you know? What anyone thinks.
You are a loser. I am the click. You are the Dick. You are a soros chi com bot.
September 22, 2022 at 9:14 pm
You are stupid as sht…
September 22, 2022 at 4:32 pm
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli just received a four year prison sentence for his January 6th activities.
Google his picture. Another ‘only the best people’ who had great anticipation of a Trump second term!
September 22, 2022 at 8:19 pm
Of course America’s Gov is correct.
Good and appropriate. Soros chi com party bots are on tic tok. We have a few on FP.
September 22, 2022 at 11:48 pm
👆They call this guy China Tom because his English is bad…
September 23, 2022 at 10:31 am
What rock do you reside under? Didn’t you get the memo that the Democrats fail in their January 6th agenda and it is being investigated…all roads lead to Nancy Pelosi.
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