DeSantis noted people with ties to the CCP have been “gobbling up land” in the U.S. and other parts of the Western Hemisphere, sparking concerns that the regime of President Xi is establishing tentacles in foreign lands. He warned that Beijing is working with globalists to undermine the West, and buying property is one part of the strategy.
“When they have interests that are opposed to ours and you see how they’ve wielded their authority, especially with President Xi, who’s taken a much more Marxist turn since he’s been ruling China, [it] is not in the best interests of Florida to have the Chinese Communist Party owning farmland, owning land close to military bases,” DeSantis said.
China owns more than 1.2 million acres of U.S. land, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Those holdings include nearly 700,000 acres of farmland and about 500,000 acres of commercial and industrial property in states including California, Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. A Chinese firm owned by a billionaire with close CCP ties is building a massive wind farm about 70 miles from Laughlin Air Force base in southwest Texas, according to a 2020 report by Foreign Policy.
DeSantis, who made the remarks during a visit to Bonita Springs, Florida, said he is opposed not only to China controlling farmland and acreage close to military bases but also to the CCP purchasing homes.
“My view is, okay, yeah, no farmland, but why would you want them buying residential developments or things like that?” he said. “I don’t want them owning subdivisions or things like that.”
DeSantis acknowledged that it will not be easy to craft policy that blocks people and companies with hidden ties to the CCP from buying into his state’s hot real estate market.
“The issue’s going to be if someone comes in and buys, it’s not the CCP that’s signing that,” he said. “These are holding companies. You’ve got to structure [legislation] in a way that will effectively police it. But yes, we do not need to have CCP influence in Florida’s economy.”
DeSantis, who served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee while in Congress from 2013-2018, said Florida has taken other measures to curb the CCP’s activity in his state, which he characterized as “insidious.”
“We banned the Confucius Institutes from our universities and our state colleges,” he said. “They have used those Confucius Institutes across the country to basically bring propaganda into our universities — as if our universities don’t have enough problems already.
“We’ve also done things to limit their ability to fund research in our universities,” he added. “I think we’re going to go even further than that. The legislature only went so far a couple years ago.”
DeSantis, who is believed to be contemplating a 2024 presidential bid, lamented that Wall Street and the entertainment industry seem all too willing to placate China in order to tap its market, and said the U.S. economy is too “intertwined” with China.
“And it hurts us,” he said, noting that the U.S. relied on its adversary for medical supplies during the COVID pandemic. “It hurts our economic vitality. It hurts our security.
“But this has been going on for many, many decades, so disentangling from China — I think it’s something that is very, very significant going forward,” he added.
Equally unwelcome in Florida is the World Economic Forum and its policies, DeSantis said. The leftist group, which meets in Davos next week, is behind an array of global initiatives that conservatives say infringe on people’s freedoms. Those include the so-called Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) push to make companies adhere to far-left policies dictated not by shareholders but by socialists and environmental extremists.
“Basically their vision is they run everything and everybody else is just like a serf, like a peasant,” DeSantis said. “They say they’re going after energy, ESG, all these other things, and you see the Biden administration wants to nix gas stoves. Are you kidding me?
“Imagine how many people had the hurricane come through, didn’t have power right away but were able to turn on [gas stoves],” he added. “You cannot go down this road but that’s exactly what they want to do, and it’s really weakening Western society, Western values.”
DeSantis said the World Economic Forum and the CCP are working hand-in-glove to undermine the West.
“What I’ve said in Florida is that type of stuff coming out of Davos, those policies are dead on arrival in the state of Florida,” he said.