Florida [US], June 9 (ANI): Accusing China of waging a campaign to steal Florida secrets, Ron DeSantis, Governor of the US state, signed two bills that seek to tackle espionage and prevent foreign adversaries from stealing intellectual property.
"All we are doing today is saying enough is enough," DeSantis said. "We have to start fighting back. Florida is doing that."
The first bill toughens penalties for stealing a trade secret to benefit a foreign government. The second bill requires universities and colleges to disclose grants and donations of more than USD 50,000 from foreign governments, Sun Sentinal reported.
The legislation highlights seven countries of concern: Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Venezuela.
At a news conference in Miami, DeSantis attacked China for stealing state secrets. He also accused China of covering up the origins of coronavirus, saying the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan.
Four professors at the University of Central Florida with ties to Chinese institutions have been fired or resigned in the past five years. One of them was Xinzhang Wu, a 19-year veteran of the University of Central Florida (UCF) who fled to China as school officials sought to ask him about his employment at a Chinese university.
In another case, six researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center resigned in December 2019, following reports they didn't disclose their ties to China.
The United States has accused China of engaging in rampant intellectual property theft.
Japan recently announced that it will conduct a review of a Beijing-funded educational organisation known as the Confucius Institutes amid concerns that a group is a propaganda tool of China.
Tokyo is worried technologies can be leaked to the Chinese side through personal exchanges.
Last month, the government of Canada's Alberta province has ordered four universities to suspend new or renewed partnerships that could be linked to China and the Chinese Communist Party, citing potential theft of Canadian intellectual property. (ANI)