Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has called the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “one of the most pervasive threats to American Security and property,” as he unveiled a plan on Monday, March 1 to address its influence in his state.
“For the last decade, the Communist Party of China has been meticulous and deliberate in their infiltration across the globe,” DeSantis said, explaining the CCP’s long-term goals and interests “are antithetical to the basic tenets of the American Republic.”
DeSantis said the CCP wants to steal intellectual property from businesses, government, and academic institutions, “all to further fuel their global objectives,” and it has become its mission.
DeSantis said it is vital to provide strategic safeguards to address concerns that the CCP and other foreign powers are influencing the government, education, and the economy.
State agencies, state universities, public schools, and local governments must “never use tax dollars to establish language and culture programs with foreign governments that place the interest of those governments ahead of our own interests,” DeSantis said, mentioning CCP-funded Confucius Institutes, specifically, reported Breitbart News.
“With our proposal today, we will ensure that no such organization is able to gain a foothold in a Florida institution of higher education,” DeSantis said. Under the new proposal, any gift received by learning institutions from a foreign government or individual that exceeds $50,000 must be reported.
Research positions must be strictly vetted, with foreign applications undergoing strenuous review processes, especially for important positions.
DeSantis warned that any institution that withholds that information will be forced to pay 105% of the amount to the state of Florida, with the attorney general taking action against them as well.
Anyone seeking a grant or contract from the state for more than $100,000 must disclose any “contact with, donation from, or grant received” from seven countries of concern. Those include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela.
“The private entities seeking public grants or contacts in excess of $100,000 will also be required to report any contact with, donation from, or grant received from persons or entities substantially influenced by such government, having a value in excess of $50,000 from the previous five years,” DeSantis said.
“Not only is this an issue of establishing barriers to foreign influence. It’s also a measure of sound fiscal stewardship to ensure tax dollars don’t end up in the hands of the likes of Maduro, Kim Jong Un, or the Chinese Communist Party,” he added. DeSantis has plans to modernize Florida law to include theft of cloud technology and “create a third-degree felony for a person who commits theft of a trade secret and a second-degree felony [for] trafficking trade secrets.”
This, he said, will “bolster law enforcement’s ability to go after corporate spies and beef up penalties for any corporate espionage that benefits a foreign government.”
DeSantis added that Floridians will be protected from foreign influence and corporate espionage, a great threat the CCP poses. He said this is a “great first step,” and he is hoping to shortly “get this on the books.”