Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law to combat the influence of the Chinese Communist Party and tyrannical regimes like Cuba and Venezuela in the United States.
“Make no mistake — China is a hostile foreign power, and every Governor has the responsibility to protect their education system, and every other entity within their purview, from the espionage and commercial theft undertaken by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a press conference.
These are two laws aimed at protecting public schools from “undue foreign influence” and criminalizing the theft and trafficking of trade secrets under Florida state law.
“Just in the last year, we have all witnessed firsthand how dangerous the CCP’s global influence is. As Gov. DeSantis said at the press conference, the CCP was one of the main proponents for lockdowns during the pandemic and that those oppressive ideas were promoted by Big Tech and corporate media,” Christina Pushaw, press secretary of Governor Ron DeSantis exclusively told El American.
At a press conference, DeSantis noted that the first law will prohibit agreements between public entities and the Communist Party of China, also mentioning Cuba, “or any of these evil forces.”
“While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not the only foreign adversary targeted by the new legislation signed by Gov. DeSantis, the CCP is the biggest threat because of the magnitude and extent of that regime’s foreign influence operations.,” Pushaw added.
The second bill called the “Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act” establishes penalties for those who steal and profit from data of Florida businesses, as happened with some Chinese companies that appropriated data from other American companies.
“Anyone who willfully and without authorization steals or attempts to steal a trade secret and use it for their own benefit will now face a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison,” the governor warned.
“Colleges, universities and public entities in Florida must be held to a high standard of disclosure and transparency when they are accepting gifts — especially from a foreign adversary,” said Representative Erin Grall.
Both bills will go into effect July 1.
In addition, DeSantis took the opportunity to remind that China “is the main culprit” in the COVID-19 pandemic, but admitted how “American money” may have sponsored Wuhan.”
What does each bill signed by DeSantis entail?
According to the Orlando Sentinel under HB 7017 Florida universities must report when they receive donations of $50,000 or more from seven “foreign countries of concern” (China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela).
Institutions that fail to disclose such information will be required to pay 105% of the value of the donation to the state of Florida.
In addition, companies seeking contracts worth $100,000 or more with the state of Florida will be required to disclose connections to the specified countries.
“HB 1523 increases the penalties for trade secret trafficking, making it a second-degree felony. And if a person intends to sell a trade secret to a foreign government, the offense would be upgraded to a first-degree felony,” the Sentinel added.
“The CCP and its collaborators have no place on college campuses or anywhere in Florida. This legislation effectively prohibits “Confucius Institutes” from operating in Florida,” Pushaw added exclusively to El American.