ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando group is making their way to Tallahassee to protest House Bill 1355, which would prohibit foreign countries, specifically China, from purchasing agricultural land.

What You Need To Know

  •  House Bill 1355 would prohibit Chinese government or people who are representing the Chinese government from purchasing land in Florida

  •  The Orlando Chinese Professionals Association is heading up to Tallahassee standing against the bill

  •  The group said the bill is discriminatory towards the Chinese community and could lead to more hate crimes

The Orlando Chinese Professionals Association is opposing the bill, stating it is harmful to their community and the Florida economy.

Supporters of the bill argue that it is necessary to address potential security concerns.

But critics claim that the bill discriminates against the Asian community and could lead to more hate crimes and discrimination.

UCF Political Professor Fr. Aubrey Jewett explains that the bill would prohibit the Chinese government and its representatives from purchasing land in Florida, particularly agricultural land and land within 20 miles of a military installation.

The bill was introduced by Republican State Representatives David Borrero and Katherine Waldron.

As locals prepare to protest this bill – one Chinese immigrant, who is now an immigration lawyer, told Spectrum News she worries this bill could potentially lead to more hate crimes and discrimination.

Echo King, an immigration lawyer who immigrated from China 20 years ago, said the bill is discriminatory and could result in more hate crimes against Asians.

"I’ve helped hundreds of immigrants become U.S. citizens. I know their story. They are real, they are nice people, and they all contribute to this country," said King.

King expressed concern that good businesses and people could be penalized for the actions of bad actors, and she hopes that by speaking out, her voice and those in her community will be heard.

"We think it’s extremely discriminatory. It’ll affect all Asian communities," said King.

FBI data shows hate crimes among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rose by more than any minority group between 2020 and 2021 — going from 300 cases in 2020 to nearly 800.

King said she’s afraid that if this bill passes those numbers will only increase.

"We’ve already since an increase of hate crimes towards Asians. Our kids are scared," said King.

The Orlando Chinese Professionals Association is rallying Wednesday morning.

They also plan to testify against the bill – as it’s brought up in front of the State Affairs Committee.