If you happened to visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China on Monday, you might have been greeted with the unusual sight of four Italian police officers on patrol.
Over the next two weeks, the four Italian officers will be patrolling around the tourist hotspots of Beijing and Shanghai, alongside their Chinese colleagues, on the look out for Italian tourists in need of assistance (or selfies). They will not be armed and can not make arrests.
They are here as part of a law enforcement cooperation program between China and Italy. Last year, China sent four Chinese police officers to Rome and Milan to help out Chinese tourists. China’s Ministry of Public Security said that eight more Chinese officers will be sent to Rome, Milan, Florence and Naples in June as a way of providing assistance to the rising number of Chinese tourists traveling to Italy.
Liao Jinrong, head of international cooperation at the ministry, said that China hopes to expand the program to other European countries, like Spain and Austria, in the near future. Often, Chinese tourists in Europe are targeted by thieves who know that they typically carry around more money than most. Last December, a Chinese exchange student in Rome was tragically killed by a passing train while chasing after her stolen 1,000 euro purse.
[Images via Xinhua]
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