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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in Miami on June 7, 2021. (Kevin Jia/The Epoch Times) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two pieces of legislation on June 7 designed to combat the influence of communist China in the United States.
“If you look right now, there is no single entity that exercises a more pervasive nefarious influence across a wide range of American industries and institutions than the Communist Party of China,” the Republican said during a press conference in Miami.
“All we are doing today is saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ We’ve got to start fighting back, and so the state of Florida is doing that,” he said.
One of the bills aims to cut the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) access to higher academic institutions—public and private—by prohibiting those entities from entering into agreements with the Chinese regime or companies with close state ties.
The bill will exclude Confucius Institutes, a controversial Beijing-backed program that has drawn scrutiny for its role in stifling freedom of expression on campus. It will also ensure that “all nation-states, corporations, organizations, and individuals seeking to engage with colleges and universities are fully vetted,” DeSantis said.
Florida shuttered the last Confucius Institute in the state in September 2019; 47 such facilities still remain in the United States. Bust of Confucius at the Confucius Institute building on the Troy University campus in Troy, Ala., on March 16, 2018. (Kreeder13 via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0) “We don’t want bad actors involved in our colleges and universities, and we’ll hold you accountable if you run afoul of these new laws,” DeSantis added.
The second measure, called the Combating Corporate Espionage in Florida Act, would make stealing and selling trade secrets a criminal offense, DeSantis warned. Stealing or attempting to steal a trade secret for one’s own benefit constitutes a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, he said.
“If the same person tries to sell the stolen trade secret, they’ll face a second-degree felony with even more penalties,” he said, adding that the individual or entity would face even harsher penalties for acting on behalf of a […]