Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Monday that the governor’s office would push for major efforts to reverse China’s influence in the state. DeSantis becomes the first governor to institutionally assume the agenda that the Republican Party took on under the hand of the 45th president, Donald Trump, since he initiated the trade war against Xi Jinping’s regime.
“Over the last decade, the Communist Party of China has been meticulous and deliberate in its infiltration around the world,” he said. He elaborated, giving it a more existential degree, saying that the Communist Party’s long-term interests “are the antithesis of the basic principles of the American Republic.”
According to DeSantis, Xi Jinping’s regime is “one of the most pervasive threats to U.S. security and property.”
He also denounced that the Communist Party massively steals intellectual property from businesses, government and academic institutions “all to further advance its global goals.”
DeSantis then emphasized the importance of providing strategic safeguards that address the concerns of the CCP and other foreign powers, which influence the government as well as academia and the economy.
In this regard, he charged that one of the key objectives of the Chinese regime is to take over the American education system. He briefly referred to Chinese theft of American research and added that the USA must “eliminate any tolerance for clandestine foreign influence in our schools.”
“For too long, the Communist Party of China and other foreign adversaries have been deliberate in their economic infiltration of other nations, the USA in particular,” he noted. DeSantis also showed his determination to keep Chinese espionage at bay and “strengthen law enforcement’s ability to pursue corporate spies and fines for any corporate espionage that benefits a foreign government.”
DeSantis said the laws would protect Floridians from foreign influence and corporate espionage, always emphasizing the threat posed by Chinese communism. The governor called his proposals a “great first step.”
Much has been said about the threat that Chinese communism poses to America, there is talk about its excesses, its abuses, its criminal nature. However, what does it mean, concretely, that DeSantis proposes to fight Beijing from Florida?
What was proposed?
Educational institutions at all levels “should never use tax dollars to establish language and cultural programs with foreign governments that place their interests above ours,” DeSantis said, referring to Chinese Communist-funded Confucius institutes.
Among the proposals, universities would be required to report donations of $50,000 or more from six foreign “countries of interest” and would be required to return 105% of the same funds to the state if such key information is not disclosed. The countries targeted by DeSantis are China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela, all of which have more than two decades in close alliance with interests opposed to American interests.
Among the other requirements, Florida will require “stringent vetting” processes and review of foreign applications for important research positions.
DeSantis assured that his measures are not about establishing barriers to foreign influence, but seek fiscal sanity to prevent Florida taxpayer dollars “from ending up in the hands of the likes of Maduro, Kim Jong-un or the Chinese Communist Party.”
DeSantis also plans to modernize Florida law to include the theft of cloud technology, and create a third-degree felony for a person who commits the theft of a trade secret and a second-degree felony for trafficking in trade secrets.