Recently, Chinese tourists in Italy have presumably been a bit startled to see Chinese police officers in front of the Colosseum ready to answer questions and help keep the peace.
This is part of a trial-run for a brand-new initiative between Chinese and Italian police forces, where officers from each country will go on patrol around popular tourist hot spots. The program will kick off next Monday, with two Chinese police officers assigned to Rome, and another two assigned to Milan.
These four officers all speak English and Italian, as well as Mandarin. While they can not make any arrests, they can help mainland tourists feel safer, by helping them communicate with local authorities or contact Chinese diplomats, state media reports.
Some three million Chinese tourists visit Italy each year, with many choosing it as a safer option over France, and recently they have been targeted by thieves who know that they carry around more money than most.
Angelino Alfano, the Italian Minister of the Interior, is obviously excited about the project, telling Xinhua:
Through this initiative, we are telling Italian citizens that their state is joining hands with a great country, in a team to ensure the safety of everybody, including Italian citizens and Chinese tourists in Italy.
Alfano says that if the program is a success, it will also be implemented in other Italian cities.
But this deal doesn’t just go one way, in a few months, some Italian police officers will fly over to go on patrol in Shanghai and Beijing. So heads up for that?
Liao Jinrong, head of international cooperation at the Ministry of Public Security, hopes to expand the program into other European countries in the future. So soon you may see Chinese police on patrol in front of the Eiffel Tower, Reichstag and Parthenon — in what we can only assume is a plot to take over the world with their new security robots.
Veni, vidi, vici!
[Images via CCTV]