Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expresses worry about China’s growing power in Florida after a Chinese company bought 1,400 acres of land in the Sunshine State to build a facility for breeding primates.
In July, JOINN Laboratories CA Inc. bought the land in Florida’s Levy County for about $5.5 million. The company reportedly wants to build a place to breed and quarantine primates.
The lab is a subsidiary of JOINN Laboratories, which is based in Beijing and has founders with ties to the Chinese military. This is one of the biggest Chinese acquisitions of U.S. land in the past few years.
JOINN Laboratories, the Beijing company behind the deal, was started and run by Zhou Zhiwen and Feng Yuxia. They both went to China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences. This is China’s leading medical research institution. In 2021, the U.S. put the college on a trade blacklist for allegedly supplying biotechnology to the Chinese military.
Talking to The Epoch Times, DeSantis’s office said that the recent Chinese land purchase is an example of the activities that he is fighting against.
DeSantis wants to stop the Chinese regime and other concerned countries from buying any land close to military bases.
At a press conference announcing the legislation in September, DeSantis said, “They [Chinese companies] pay a lot more than it’s [the land] worth; that’s why people are doing it. From a national security perspective, is that something that we wanna see?” DeSantis said on September 22 at a press conference announcing the legislation.
The governor added, “A lot of times, there’ll be companies that will put themselves out as private, but if you peel back the onion a little bit, they’re basically controlled by the Chinese government.”
The law was part of a larger plan to fight “malign” foreign influence, especially from communist China.
Dubbed “Stop CCP Influence,” the legislation also contains an order to protect the intellectual property of higher education institutions from the regime. He also signed an order banning Florida’s government agencies from using Chinese technology products or services.
The land sale happened at a time when the topic of Chinese companies buying land in the U.S. was getting a lot of attention.
Fufeng Group, a well-known Chinese company that makes food additives and has ties to the CCP, recently bought 370 acres in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to build a corn mill.
The facility is 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base. The place holds U.S. drones, satellites, and surveillance equipment. U.S. lawmakers are concerned that the deal could hurt national security by giving the CCP chances to spy on the site.
The project is on hold while the Committee of Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) is looking at it. The committee is an interagency council that looks at foreign investments to see if they pose a threat to national security.