A provocative and provocative art exhibition opened in the Italian city of Florence on Thursday amid stiff protests from the Chinese embassy in Rome.
Art installation #ArtOfDifferentStuff was installed on Monday by a group of activists who hope it will add a political twist to a Christmas market that boasts 18 different ways to sing Christmas carols.
The Huffington Post reported that the anti-Chinese protests are apparently part of a campaign by Beijing to prevent the display of historical artefacts in Italy by historical Chinese authorities.
Representatives of the Chinese embassy held a press conference on Wednesday protesting the display of the artwork and had expressed “serious concern” about the “irresponsible act.”
But the group of activists who created the installation argued that they were invited to conduct their experiment in collaboration with the city’s cultural authorities.
This year, the Italian city is hoping to build up a tenfold increase in trade with the Asian powerhouse in a bid to offset the risk of China being swayed by North Korea.
But the nationalist agenda of some Italian politicians have been threatening to derail this newly formed relationship.
“I don’t see any problem with a Chinese artist showing her work because we aren’t just a country of immigrants,” Italy’s eurosceptic Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said.
The artist says that the work was inspired by the discussion about China in Italy at the moment, but certainly the political climate in China is certainly not as rosy as it was ten years ago.
In 2008, Italy’s then-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi made the country a sort of “brain factory” to help China build up its own “ecological system.”
This has not proved successful, with the tourism bubble that was created completely deflating in the last decade.
The Chinese currency, the Renminbi, has also reportedly been plagued by currency speculation.
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