Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed two new bills in Miami on June 7 aimed at combating Communist influence in Florida.
The first bill signed by the governor makes it illegal for any public organization or group in Florida to enter into any agreement with a communist group or a private company affiliated with a communist group. The second bill is called the “Florida Anti-Corporate Espionage Act. The bill specifically targets the Chinese Communist Party, which DeSantis criticizes for stealing intellectual property and infiltrating all areas of American society, especially academia.
Combating the “widespread evil influence” of the Chinese Communist Party on the United States
The slogan on the speaker’s podium at the press conference in Miami stood out clearly: Stop CCP Influence.
At the press conference, Governor DeSantis said, “No entity exerts more widespread evil influence on American industries and institutions than the Chinese Communist Party.”
Regarding the pervasive infiltration of the CCP in Florida, DeSantis said, “What we’re doing today is saying that enough is enough. We have to start fighting back, and so Florida is doing that.”
The two bills, which passed unanimously in the Florida Legislature, indicate Florida will end the influence the Chinese Communist Party has been having on many areas of society, including the entertainment industry, the news media and especially academia.
He said the CCP’s influence in U.S. academia is everywhere, “You look at the mass media, in the entertainment industry in the United States, they all speak for the Chinese Communist Party.” He added, “They’re also trying to suppress the truth about the virus lab leak for the CCP.”
DeSantis also mentioned how Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, censored the iconic “Tank Man” image on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, which Microsoft later claimed was an “accidental human error.
Cases of Chinese collusion with the Chinese Communist Party in Florida’s wrongdoing
Governor DeSantis also cited a number of recent federal prosecutions of Chinese nationals for “collusion with the Chinese Communist government.
Earlier this year, U.S. law enforcement agencies found that a Chinese professor at the University of Florida fraudulently obtained a federal grant and then took $1.75 million in U.S. taxpayer money to fund research at a company he founded in China.
The wife of a U.S. Navy officer in Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty in September 2020 to helping smuggle military-grade equipment to China.
The National Institutes of Health said in April it had focused on 500 researchers suspected of having financial ties to the Chinese Communist Party and other foreign adversaries. DeSantis said cases like these don’t get the attention they deserve.
New bill would stop Communist infiltration of academia
The bill signed into law by DeSantis would exclude the Confucius Institute, a Communist Party “free lunch” for foreign students that has come under scrutiny for stifling free speech on campus. Florida closed the state’s last Confucius Institute in September 2019.
DeSantis said he would ensure that “all state-run businesses, companies, organizations and individuals seeking to partner with Florida colleges and universities will be fully vetted.”
The bill would require universities to report any gifts from foreign countries that exceed $50,000. And universities would have to more closely scrutinize foreign applicants for scientific research positions, and research institutions would have to report all work-related travel abroad.
DeSantis added, “We don’t want bad actors in our colleges and universities, and if you violate these new laws, we will hold you accountable.”
New bill would crack down on corporate espionage
The second bill aims to “crack down on corporate espionage. DeSantis warned that it would make it a criminal offense to steal and sell trade secrets.
The new bill would require companies doing business with the Communist Party and other communist countries to disclose any financial transactions in those countries that exceed $50,000.
DeSantis said, “We knew we needed to stand up and we knew we needed to start fighting back because it was really getting out of hand.”
He said in a June 7 interview that with the signing of the two bills into law, Florida will have “by far the strongest protections against the influence of the Chinese Communist Party” compared to other states.
Florida is the first state in the U.S. to include laws against the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
Both laws will take effect July 1, DeSantis said. He also realizes that “this is going to be a long-term issue that we’re going to have to deal with, but we’re going to keep doing it.”