China President Xi Jinping: Italy has made our mistake but has not learned the lesson
The COVID-19 Coronavirus parallel between China and Italy
The China perspective on the situation in Italy over the COVID-19 coronavirus is that Italy is making the same mistake Beijing made. China President Xi Jinping was clear when he said that Italy, however, is still in the middle of the fjord.
Correspondent Francesco Sisci is an Italian sinologist who lives in Beijing. He shared his perspective with eTN Italy correspondent Mario Masciullo:
In Italy, things happen that from a distance appear simply incomprehensible, regardless of whether they are good or bad.
Schools close but not offices – why? Again, schools close but the use of masks and gloves is not ordered – why? First it is reported that the schools will be closed for 2 weeks, then after a day goes by, the period is extended. Why are the authorities saying one thing first and then another after a mere few hours?
If there are reasons for this, they must be said; if there are no reasons, then why are these things being done?
The story of the interruption of direct flights from China to Italy from a month ago is again in the news. The flights were interrupted, but there was no control over who came from China, nor was a quarantine introduced for those who arrived. This (perhaps simplistic) measure may be at the origin of the explosion of the disease in Italy. It certainly didn’t help.
Are these confused new measures generating panic inside and outside the country today? Do they not communicate abroad that the government is disconnected?
In China, everything was not done wrong; maybe something can actually be learned. Beijing has been fighting for a couple of months over the idea of blocking Wuhan and the province of Hubei, the epicenter of the epidemic, and cautioning the rest of the country.
The worries were the same as in Italy. Perhaps if it is not such a serious disease, can the country afford the luxury of having a great brake on the economy?
In the end, China quarantined Wuhan and all the rest. In addition, to give a turnaround to the nation and the world, China President Xi Jinping fired the Hubei Governor and Mayor of Wuhan.
Are Italy and its government really in much better condition than Hubei and Wuhan?
Of course, China hid at the beginning, while Italy was transparent. But then Beijing took radical measures, also because President Xi understood that if he had not acted forcefully with the disease and in Hubei, his prestige and the overall stability of the country would have been compromised.
Some Chinese choices in Italy are out of the question, such as ordering people not to leave the house. The Chinese are ready for obedience and discipline, and it’s not just about the authoritarian government, even if it has to do with it.
However, a signal of change should be given. If Italy turned that page, nobody is sure that there would be better and clearer decisions. But of course, the confusion must be stopped and a line drawn.
This is an unprecedented situation in modern history. There is the intersection of 3 elements: the epidemic, the economic recession, and the clash of the USA with China. It will take a coherent answer.
It is a very difficult situation, and perhaps no Italian government today would be capable of it. But even in the absence of this, it would take a sign of turning and honesty.
The next few days could be very tense. Yesterday, after 3 days of recovery, the American stock market lost 3.6% due to the coronavirus alert in California and speculation has now begun to bet on a big thump.
After all, the global economies are slowing down due to the spread of the epidemic, and there are no clear prospects for recovery. Even the hopes of a V-shaped recovery of Chinese production, as happened in 2003 with Sars, which perhaps will drive everything, fades at this time.
How long will the markets take to reflect this reality?