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The direct Chinese connect for Italy becoming new Covid-19 epicenter

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Manik Berry

Chandigarh, 30th March

It has been in question as to why Italy became the epicenter of COVID-19 spread in Europe. There have been reports on various matters, in various papers, elaborating on how the crisis that brewed in Wuhan, ended up in Florence.

To start with, we must first understand the Italian economy and its relationship with China. In a solid economic partnership with China, Italy is the PRC’s major port for the distribution of goods across Europe. How that came to being, is a question that needs to be answered in-depth.

Chinese labor

A Chinese worker in an Italian loom. Photo courtesy Reuters

Italy, as a hub for manufacturing of garments and other goods, once began employing people from China, as cheap labor off the books. Chinese labor was quick to learn and soon the production started booming. However, the Italians had a big shock coming for them.

Soon enough, the “River of Money” scam came to light and it was found out that there was embezzlement of $4.78 billion done by the Bank of China, Milan branch in Italy. The Bank of China even paid 6,00,000 euros as fine to settle the case.

While the Chinese labor enjoyed multiple relaxations from the government, the native Italians were held accountable, sowing seeds of unrest in the locals. Soon enough, the Chinese had displaced the native Italians and clusters of Chinese villages started popping on the map near Florence.

Early 2019

In March 2019, the Chinese revitalized the port of Trieste in Italy, as part of their One belt One Road initiative. China roped in Italy as a distribution port for its goods across Europe. Despite attempts from the USA to stop the deal, a debt-riddled Italy agreed to the Chinese deal, inviting much needed to capital to sustain its fractured economy.

With the One Belt One Road initiative now in force, business travel between Italy and China further escalated.

The Peak

On 4th February 2020, Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence urged the natives into the ‘hug a Chinese’ campaign. Produced by a Chinese production house, the video shows the comments of U.S. President Donald Trump as racist. Trump called COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese Virus,’ which attracted a harsh response from the PRC.

However, while the virus was still deadly and on the verge of becoming a global catastrophe, the Italian mayor’s campaign is being read as a clear marker of how the Italian administration put a large number of their citizens at risk in order to continue deals with China.

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