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Law & Principles

Stitt issues executive order targeting Chinese influence

Ray Carter | June 14, 2024

Gov. Kevin Stitt has issued an executive order that seeks to reduce Oklahoma’s vulnerability to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) threats.

“Under President Biden, the United States is dealing with an aggressive and emboldened Chinese government, and states have to be prepared to deal with those consequences,” Stitt said. “I’m proud to take this executive action to protect our interests from foreign adversaries. I can promise you, the Chinese Communist Party will find no friend in Oklahoma.”

The executive order requires the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) to administer an annual state risk assessment to identify areas of vulnerability, such as vulnerability to cyberattacks, public health, energy infrastructure, and more. 

It also requires the development of divestment plans for state assets deemed at risk of compromise in the event of an Indo-Pacific conflict. 

In addition, the order requires Oklahoma state agencies to reduce reliance on single-source procurement from adversarial regimes like the Chinese Communist Party, while directing OMES to assess critical infrastructure, telecommunications, military installations, and other areas of concern. 

The executive order comes three weeks after Governor Stitt signed Senate Bill 1705 to further restrict foreign governments from owning land in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 1705, by state Sen. Brent Howard and House Speaker Charles McCall, amended existing state law that restricts foreign-land ownership in Oklahoma to specify that no “foreign government adversary” may purchase land in Oklahoma and defined that term to include any country designated by the United States Secretary of State as hostile or a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

Officials in numerous states across the country have recently passed or considered new restrictions on foreign purchases of land due to national security concerns.

In 2021, the Center for Strategic & International Studies noted that foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land doubled from 2009 to 2019, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) records. Oklahoma was among the top five states for foreign purchases of agricultural land, according to the center.

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.

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