Florida House looks to limit Chinese interference, influence at state schools

by | Dec 15, 2020


Florida lawmakers will consider legislation to protect state universities and research institutions from interference by China, state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said Tuesday. In a tweet, Sprowls said the legislation will come as part of efforts by the House Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions, which was set up by former Speaker Jose Oliva in response to reports of Chinese meddling at Moffitt Cancer Center and at the University of Florida.

“The Florida House launched the 1st State-initiated investigation into China’s coordinated effort to access our Universities & research,” Sprowls tweeted. “Next year, we will propose new legislation to make Florida the national leader in protecting our research institutions.”

The Tampa cancer center, which receives state funding, went through a shake-up after the center’s chief executive officer, a senior member of the center and four researchers resigned over alleged violations of conflict-of-interest rules related to work in China.

Moffitt reported there was no evidence intellectual property had been stolen or that research of patient care had been compromised, but “out of an abundance of caution” it returned roughly $1.1 million to the state.

Sprowls linked his tweet with a National Review report titled, “America’s Elite Universities Hide Contributions from World’s Worst Human-Rights Abusers.”

The report said, “While governments of allies such as England, Germany, and Italy all donate directly to U.S. colleges, roughly one-third of declared foreign funds come from nations that abuse human rights on a massive scale.” The report also noted that “various universities reported receiving $6.6 billion in recent years from countries including Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.”

The 2021 legislative session will begin March 2.

3 Comments

  1. Truth Seeker

    It is important to root out legitimate scientific and technology interference from China. However, the Moffitt fiasco has subsequently been shown to be political theater and didn’t involve either scientific or technology interference from China. Most of the scientists were doing Moffitt sanctioned work at a Moffitt sanctioned cancer center in Tianjin. The other was doing Moffitt sanctioned work at a hospital founded by Yale University in 1906. The ‘abundance of caution’ for giving $1M back to the state was an attempt to decrease the investigation. The press has shown that Moffitt knew about the scientific work (that helps Florida) and the state should return the $1M to Moffitt!

    Reply
  2. Judi Longworth

    I find this very interesting! I know numerous facilities share research findings. I am disappointed that we are sharing with out of our country. I may be very naive but all negative possibilities should be considered.
    I love Moffitt and I am thankful they were available when we needed them. Our world has become so indescribably unsanctioned and untrustworthy it is so sad.

    Reply
  3. Judi Longworth

    I find this very interesting! I know numerous facilities share research findings. I am disappointed that we are sharing with out of our country. I may be very naive but all negative possibilities should be considered.
    I love Moffitt and I am thankful they were available when we needed them. Our world has become so indescribably unsanctioned and untrustworthy it is so sad.

    Reply

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