A particularly inspired Xi Jinping visited Sardinia on Wednesday, after his participation at the COP22 conference in Morocco. It was an opportunity to observe Chinese investments more closely and to meet informally with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. It was just a dinner; there was no scheduled time to meet with the press, just a photo op.
Local authorities have paid great attention to the visit, since they are interested in promoting the Sardinia brand in the Chinese tourism market. Xi, who has been accused of trying to revive the ancient cult to Mao’s personality, knows his weight among the Chinese. He ironically — or maybe not — said that, in fact, the visit of the Chinese President to Sardinia could help drive tourism to the island: “After my visit today, I hope many Chinese will come here: There will be a big return of image from the tourism point of view. Many will be intrigued, after seeing images of my trip.” They hope so in Sardinia.
Xi also visited the archaeological site of Nora. Near there is a high-tech industrial park, in which the Chinese tech giant Huawei has invested $20 million. Xi was won over by the landscape and prospects (he observed “on the one hand the nature, on the other technology”).