Florida Governor DeSantis signs two bills to curb Chinese influence on American higher ed

Spokesperson for the governor stated that 'this legislation effectively bans 'Confucius Institutes' from operating in Florida.'

The legislation will require universities to report large foreign donations and grants to the state.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed new bills into law on June 7 that target Chinese influence in the Florida education system.

The bills, HB7017 and HB1523, take aim at corporate espionage, criminal activity, and foreign influence. As Campus Refrom reported earlier this yeara professor University of Florida received $1.8 million while hiding his ties with the Chinese Government and a separate case of a Jacksonville woman.

[RELATED: Analysis finds that Penn raises 26% of its foreign contributions from Chinese sources]

Gov. DeSantis stated that “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.”

Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, told Campus Reform that “The CCP and its collaborators have no place in Florida’s universities, or really, anywhere in Florida. This legislation effectively bans ‘Confucius Institutes’ from operating in Florida.”

A press release from the office of Gov. DeSantis states that the bills requires “universities and colleges to disclose foreign donations and grants of $50,000 or more to the State University System Board of Governors or Department of Education”  

[RELATED:EXCLUSIVE: Contracts reveal US universities ‘must’ accept CCP’s ‘assessment’ on ‘teaching quality’ at Confucius Institutes]

The laws aim to vet all entities in Florida including states, corporations, and universities. In 2019, the last Confucius Institute in Florida was shut down at Miami Dade College. 

At the announcement of the bill signing, State Representative Erin Grall stated “Colleges, universities and public entities in Florida must be held to a high standard of disclosure and transparency when they are accepting gifts — especially from a foreign adversary,” according to the press release.

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