Chinese police Shu Jian (3rd R) and Sa Yiming (4th R), together with two Italian police, check the documents of a Chinese tourist group outside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, May 2, 2016. Sino-Italian police collaboration was launched on May 2 in Rome, Italy. [Photo/Xinhua]
Police officers from China have started joint patrols in Rome and Milan with their Italian counterparts to provide assistance to Chinese tourists who increasingly are choosing Italy as a vacation destination.
Two uniformed Chinese police officers will patrol for two weeks beginning on May 2 at the city’s popular tourist spots, including the Colosseum in Rome and Milan’s Gothic cathedral.
Chinese police Pang Bo (2nd L) talks with Italian police about working details outside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, May 2, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
Chinese police Pang Bo (4th L), Shu Jian (1st L), Li Xiang (1st R) and Sa Yiming (2nd R), together with four Italian police, pose for a photo outside the Arch of Constantine in Rome, Italy, May 2, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
The initiative stems from an agreement between the two countries reached in 2014 and confirmed last year. Italian police have carried out similar collaboration with such countries as the United States, Spain and Poland.
“Today is an important day, because we are strengthening collaboration with China in a very special field,” Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told a news conference in Rome that was attended by officials from the two countries.
The interior minister said he hoped the bilateral collaboration will be deepened with further agreements and extended to other Italian cities.
Gennaro Capoluongo, head of the international police cooperation service in Italy, said:”We feel proud to be the first one in Europe to undergo such an important collaboration program with China.”
Luca Sarais, owner of Cantine Isola wine bar in Milan’s Chinatown, said, “I think this is a positive initiative.”
The initiative is an intercultural response to local criminal gangs, he added.
Huang Feng, a professor of international criminal law at Peking University, said the four Chinese police officers will perform their duties according to Italian laws.
The four officers, who speak Italian and English along with Mandarin, received training from Italian officers in Beijing before they were sent to Italy.
“The command of the Chinese language is their strength in assisting law enforcement, and they know the customs of Chinese tourists and therefore are better able to explain legal regulations and procedures to Chinese when they are in trouble or in disputes,” Huang said.
Wang Gang, head of the European Division of the Ministry of Public Security’s International Bureau, said that under a memorandum signed by the two countries, China will send officers to Italy during the peak tourist season every year, and Italy can also send police officers to patrol in China if necessary.
This new mode of law enforcement cooperation is based on strengthened mutual trust and demonstrates closer collaboration of police departments of the two countries after years of efforts, said Zhao Yu, deputy dean of the International Law Enforcement Institute at the People’s Public Security University of China.
“This exemplary move is likely to have a positive effect on cooperation between China and other European countries,” Zhao said.
He added that the patrols have symbolic significance as China increasingly works jointly with foreign countries on law enforcement.
Zheng Pengyuan, a Chinese national who has promoted education among Chinese-Italians in Milan since 2008, said Chinese police patrols are a timely action to ensure the safety of Chinese-Italians and Chinese students and tourists.
“The three groups of people are targets of wrongdoers in Italy who believe that we have the habit of carrying cash and buying luxury goods,” said Zheng.
In Milan’s Chinatown, in the northern part of the Italian business capital, between 70 and 80 percent of shops are run by Chinese owners, but around 80 percent of residents are Italian.
“My flower kiosk is in the open air, and it is very important for me to feel safe every day,” said Nicola Leuci, owner of a flower shop.
Patrizia Facchinotti, owner of a fruit and vegetable market in the same district, said, “I think Chinese policemen can definitely help. And they speak Mandarin, which is a fundamental tool to communicate with many Chinese citizens here.”