Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed two pieces of legislation, one of which will ban Confucius Institutes in Florida, aimed to combat nefarious foreign influence and corporate espionage in the Sunshine State.
“Foreign adversaries will not have access to our schools, government, or companies like they have in the past, DeSantis said during Monday’s press conference in Miami, Florida:
Today, the State of Florida is taking a stand against communist dictators and bad state actors. We will STOP CCP INFLUENCE in our education system and government by going on offense.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 7, 2021
“Not the Communist Party of China, not Russia, not Cuba, not North Korea, not Iran, not Syria, not Venezuela. In fact, the first bill signed today safeguards our public institutions from undue foreign influence, and that means prohibiting agreements between public entities and the Communist Party of China or Cuba or any of these other malignant forces,” he said, detailing the real-world application.
For instance, the bill will ban such things as Confucius Institutes on universities or college campuses in the state of Florida.
Beyond that, the bill “also makes sure we don’t make deals with private companies that are closely tied to these adversaries,” DeSantis explained. Further, it makes sure all nations, states, corporations, individuals, and those seeking to engage in colleges and universities are “fully vetted.”
DeSantis is also signing the Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act, which creates “new criminal offenses in Florida for the theft and trafficking of trade secrets.
“Anyone who willfully works without authorization steals or attempts to steal a trade secret and use it for their benefit will now face a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If the same person tries to sell the stolen trade secret, they’ll face a second-degree felony with even more penalties,” DeSantis said, explaining that the penalties will be “significantly enhanced” if an individual does so on behalf of a foreign government.
The Republican governor used China’s coverup of the Chinese coronavirus as his backdrop before previewing the measures, explaining how the world has suffered due to the malfeasance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He said in part:
If you look at what’s gone on now with the coronavirus pandemic and the coverup of the origins of COVID-19, it’s pretty clear that this was a virus that almost assuredly leaked out of this lab in Wuhan. This is the lab where these scientists were working very closely with the Community Party of China as well as the Chinese military. When you had these folks fall ill who were working in that lab last fall, the Communist Party of China decided to cover it up. They didn’t give any information out. They didn’t ask for any assistance. They didn’t give a heads-up to anybody. They tried to cover it. … The world has had to endure over a year-and-a-half of a lot of bad stuff as a result of this.
‘They covered it up, and they need to be held accountable for this,” DeSantis added.
However, DeSantis said it is also “pretty clear” that there were people “scurrying around” to cover up the fact that this may have come out of the lab even if they acknowledged it privately, as seen in Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails. That alone, DeSantis said, further exposed the relationships between institutions in China in the research realm and bureaucrats in the United States.
While DeSantis said the bills focus on foreign influence from seven countries specifically, he stated that there is probably “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.”
Academia, he explained, is “permeated” with influence, detailing how researchers are getting indicted at major institutions “for being in cahoots with the Chinese government.”
The corporate media and entertainment industry are no better, he continued.
“You look at corporate media and entertainment industry in this country. They are in the pocket of the Communist Party of China. I mean, if Hollywood comes up with a movie the CCP doesn’t like, they get censored,” he said, adding that the corporate media assisted in suppressing the truth about the lab leak theory. He also noted the deep financial ties the corporate media have to the CCP.
Big Tech, DeSantis continued, also runs interference for CCP, while celebrities and athletes continue to “virtue-signal” for things in the U.S., yet almost all of them fail to do the same for the atrocities the CCP commits.
“Enough is enough,” DeSantis said. “We’ve got to start fighting back.”
DeSantis’s action precedes the Senate’s vote on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) China bill, which Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) described as a “massive boondoggle that’s going to help the Chinese” and hurt Americans.