MILAN—Italians must retain control of sensitive data, such as their personal finances or health conditions, and prevent an undemocratic country like China from gaining access, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on May 20.
Salvini made the comment in response to a question about U.S. action against Chinese telecoms equipment group Huawei.
Speaking to La7 television, League leader Salvini said: “China is not a democracy and has a certain spirit of imperialism and control.” He added that the Chinese regime held sway over its state companies.
“Italians’ sensitive data must remain in Italian hands.”
In relation to a memorandum of understanding signed between Italy and China, Salvini said international alliances and security were a separate matter from initiatives taken to support domestic companies.
In March, Italy signed on to China’s controversial “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure plan, despite concern within the country’s government, as well as those from the United States and the European Union.
The two countries sealed the deal through a memorandum of understanding signed at a ceremony attended by visiting Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
However, Salvini was notably absent from both the state dinner with Xi at the Quirinal Palace on March 22, and the signing ceremony a day later.
Salvini has previously said that Italy would be “no-one’s colony,” AFP reported. And at a local economic conference, Salvini openly pointed out that free market doesn’t exist in China, according to Italian news site News Mondo.
“We want to be cautious when it comes to national security, our data and, our energy, if we bring our entrepreneurs to China,” Salvini said.
By Valentina Za. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.