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Chinese, Italian scholars join hands in epidemic fight

(Xinhua)    14:03, April 11, 2020

XI'AN, April 11 (Xinhua) -- In late March when the coronavirus was sweeping across Italy, Xiao Yunru, a Chinese writer and literary critic, initiated a donation of 5,000 face masks to a hospital in Milan on the request of Italian sinologist Giuseppina Merchionne.

Having first met at a symposium on the Silk Road in China's northwestern city of Xi'an in March 2018, the two scholars from both ends of the ancient route have fostered the bond between the peoples of the two countries amid the pandemic.

In late February when China was grappling with the virus, Merchionne, also a professor of Chinese language and culture at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, extended her sincere sympathy through text messages to Xiao.

"My relationship with China spans decades," she said. "I miss and am concerned for you all. Wish you all the best."

They kept close contact with each other and shared solicitude to the people affected by the coronavirus.

On March 16, Merchionne told Xiao there was an acute shortage of FFP2 respirators at Niguarda Hospital in Milan and asked Xiao if he could ship some to the hospital.

Xiao immediately asked Zhao Qi, vice head of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce in Shaanxi Province, for help, and Zhao sent 5,000 respirators to the hospital from Romania on March 22.

Merchionne said she was grateful for the protective equipment sent by her Chinese friends and called them her "friends for life."

"People-to-people exchanges have united us as one," Xiao said, adding that people around the world share the same future in human development.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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