Florida Takes on the Fight Against China

"Ron DeSantis" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On Monday, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law aimed primarily at taking action against communist China; meanwhile, Democrat President Joe Biden has been (at best) mediocre when it comes to tackling America’s greatest foe.

“Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

During a Monday news conference, DeSantis signed two pieces of legislation to halt the expansion of foreign influence in the state and toughen the penalty for individuals convicted of espionage.

DeSantis also delivered a heated address (which is included later in this story) in which he slammed China and called them out as an enemy. This is something Biden cannot or will not do.

HB 7017, the first law, clearly mentions China, whereas HB 1523 (Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act), the second bill, does not. However, while articulating the need for HB 1523, DeSantis often used instances that directly alluded to China.

Highlights of Bill HB 7017

Strengthens the vetting and disclosure standards for foreign financial connections for entities looking for grants funded by taxpayers or contracts from state agencies or political subdivisions.

Increases the inspection of research grant applicants, international applicants for research posts, and staff of important research institutes who travel or engage in foreign activities.

Requires universities and colleges to report foreign gifts and grants of $50,000 or more to the Board of Governors of the State University System or the Department of Education. Foreign gifts and grants of $50,000 or more must be reported to the Department of Financial Services by state agencies and political subdivisions.

Prohibits state/public bodies from entering into special agreements with precisely seven different countries that are of concern (PRC, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela).

Highlights of HB 1523 (Combatting Corporate Espionage)

The trafficking and theft of trade secrets are now criminal charges in Florida.

Anyone who intentionally and without permission steals or tries to steal a trade secret for the purposes of their own gain will now suffer a third-degree felony. This comes with a punishment of up to five years behind bars. People who try selling trade secrets that are stolen are going to face a second-degree felony. Such a felony comes with 15 years time spend in prison.

If an individual or business violates this law on behalf of a foreign government, the penalties are significantly increased, with the felony being reclassified one degree higher and the severity of the act is increased.

During a furious address before signing the bills, DeSantis made no apologies for his feelings toward communist China.

China has infiltrated practically every business in the United States, according to DeSantis. The Florida governor also noted China’s attempts to alter American policy and culture while taking trade secrets that belong to the United States. DeSantis then blamed China for the outbreak, mentioning China’s duplicity and the Wuhan Institute of Virology several times.

The White House and the Biden administration have been soft recently towards the Chinese, who are flexing their muscles in the South China Sea.