Friday, March 30, 2012

Prime Minister Mario Monti: wants Chinese Investments in Italy

Rome, Italy - Italian newspapers devoted vast space, perhaps too much so, to Hu Jintao's promises to Prime Minister Mario Monti to direct Chinese investment towards Italy. According to media reports, from sources in Monti's staff, Hu Jintao "gave precise instructions to the heads of the financial authorities (including sovereign wealth funds) and the Chinese business community to return to investing in our country."

Some experts have already identified the areas where these investments might go: ports, infrastructure, electronics, fashion, electrical appliances ... Others swear that China is moving towards an ever greater economic success, that the middle class is growing, as well as their consumer power, that the next change at the top, with Xi Jinping as party secretary and president, marks the coming of a " reformer ".

Some foundations in contact with Italy and China have foreseen a rosy future for China in 2012 and 2013

It strikes me that they are describing a dream-like scenario.

These are the reasons why:

Not one Chinese newspaper, not even Xinhua reported that phrase or quoted a line of dialogue between our prime minister and president of China. This suggests that perhaps the phrase is not as important for the Chinese, as it is for us, or they were just polite but meaningless words suited to the occasion. Remember the promises made by Wen Jiabao during his visit to Germany last February, in which he said that China "might" help Europe, provided that puts its accounts to rights... Of course we are open to see that maybe in Mario Monti's upcoming visit to Beijing and Boai, Hu's promises may be more precise. In this way, our hopes would not be just a dream, but something more concrete.
b) I'm no economist, but looking at graphs on imports-exports between Italy and China, we realize that our problem is that we do not export enough to that Eldorado in the East. Will the investments help increase these longed for exports or instead serve to wipe out and the Italian labor market? These are indeed the results of many Chinese investments in Africa, where the hand of Beijing has destroyed the local economies. I understand that Italy is better off than African countries, but this doubt still arises.
c) China's current problem is the lack of domestic demand. And this will only grow the people who work are given higher salaries and a voice. On this point, just yesterday, the economist Minxin Pei pointed out that China has received some wonderful advice from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which calls for the Asian giant to launch structural reforms such as privatization and an increased reduction of state intervention in the economy. But the ever-sharp Pei points out that these reforms (which would allow a truly "harmonious society" as intoned for over a decade by Hu Jintao) mean reducing the power of the Communist Party. And on this it seems that no one will agree, neither the recently dishonoured Maoists, nor the "reformists", nor Xi Jinping, who so far has played on both sides to keep all career options open .
d) How many times have we here at AsiaNews reported that, without these reforms, China is destined to a social and economic failure. The party's monopoly power means repression, government corruption, predatory economics heedless of the social and environmental issues, which catalyze the many revolts which punctuate the geography of the country.
e) A further element is the issue of human rights and religious freedom. Two months ago, we dared to make the request to Hu Jintao and the Chinese Ambassador in Italy to release two senior bishops who have been imprisoned for 40 to 51 years. Without hoping for an answer, which of course never came. Apart from some rare cases, neither was there any support forthcoming from the political world (even though it is merely a "technical" government). Perhaps because this political class always hoped in this future Chinese investment. If Paris is worth a mass, two bishops in prison are well worth the (hypothetical) investment (in chorus the media cry: "Money. Lots of money").
f) It is worth noting here what Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday in Cuba regarding religious freedom, a right which "manifests the unity of the human person, who is at once a citizen and a believer. It also legitimizes the fact that believers have a contribution to make to the building up of society. Strengthening religious freedom consolidates social bonds, nourishes the hope of a better world, creates favourable conditions for peace and harmonious development, while at the same time establishing solid foundations for securing the rights of future generations". In short, our politicians (even the "technical" ones) must push China to implement religious freedom even for economic stability.
g) A final note of "nemesis": there is much talk on Xinhua and in Chinese newspapers regarding Italy's labor reform in Italy and Article 18 in praise of Monti. Who knows: maybe this reform will push Beijing to make its much-needed investments in Italy, importing the form of labour typical in the Middle Kingdom. What a terrible revenge of history to see the CGIL defeated by Mao Zedong's heirs.

- AsiaNews

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