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Tianjin Italian district in China

èItalia last issue, now at the newsstand’, dedicates an interesting article to the development of the Italian district in Tianjin, China. The restoration works are assigned to S.I.RE.NA., an Italian non-profit society that successfully realized some urban regeneration programmes in Naples, and now is ready to export its expertise abroad.

A few know that between 1912 and 1945 the Italians got a 51 hectares concession in Yigong area. They built a real quarter with 133 buildings: a small town with a city hall, church, consulate, hospital and barracks. This neighbourhood has survived until today.

Do similar examples exist in China, in the areas that were under European control? This question sounds interesting. In some regions, like Macao, other communities of Italian origins were present, consisting of Catholic settlements of various orders. If we knew something about that, we could highlight some pages of the History that today are not considered accurately.

Instead of making room for new and more functional buildings,the Chinese government decided to safeguard the Italian district and assigned the restoration works to an Italian society. This is a significant fact.

About the future, about the new life of the Italian district, Gens Italica invites èItalia to think to the possibility that this district may become a point of reference for the Italian spirit in China. It would be open not only to Italy, but to all the communities of Italian origins in the world, fulfilling their wish to be in contact with the native land. A real network of the Italian spirit, in a dedicated contest.

Most of it has been planned to ensure a strategic Italian presence in Tianjin for the next years. Unfortunately, we are not sure that the connection between the local Italian community and Italy will be developed as well. That’s a pity, because we are very keen on this plan.

It would be nice to have a dialogue about it with èItalia, especially regarding the future some interesting ideas may arise, and we could submit them to the Italian institutions and representative bodies. In order to open an operative and timely debate, we need to know the facts in a complete way.

Gens Italica hopes that its incitement won’t fall on deaf ears; on the contrary, we wish to draw the attention of who, in China, have worked and works today for placing at everybody’s disposal his experience and skill.

News and pictures from èItalia, China Radio International, China Agency