China-Italy police joint patrol team wave their hands to greet a group of Chinese children at Wangfujing Street in Beijing on Monday. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Chinese and Italian police commenced their third joint patrol operation in Chinese cities on Monday, which aims to better serve international tourists amid strengthening cooperation in public security service.
Eight Italian police officers began patrolling tourist sites in the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou with their local counterparts, which will last until July 5.
The Italian police officers on Monday patrolled Wangfujing Street, a busy shopping area in Beijing, and are scheduled to patrol tourist sites like the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.
As agreed, they will not carry firearms or weapons but will provide advice to Chinese police.
The unusual sight of officers from Italy attracted crowds of selfie-snapping tourists when they appeared in Wangfujing Street on Monday afternoon.
"The operation brought the people from the two countries closer. Italian tourists are happy and surprised to see us in Beijing," Pettini Annamaria, an Italian police officer, told the Global Times.
"You could easily tell that they feel comfortable to see a familiar uniform on foreign soil. It's an extra sense of security," Annamaria said. "I enjoy the patrol so much," she said.
The joint operation is necessary and pragmatic, said Deng Pan, a Beijing police officer who joined the patrol on Monday. "More and more people from Italy and other countries visiting China will find it easier to overcome language and cultural barriers."
Deng and Annamaria also exchanged police experience and law enforcement methods of both countries during the patrol.
"We learn from each other and work together to deepen understanding, mutual trust and cooperation," Deng said.
In recent years, China-Italy relations have been developing and people-to-people exchanges have become more frequent.
To further safeguard the citizens of the two sides, China in September will send police officers to Italy for the fourth time to conduct joint patrols with Italian counterparts in four Italian cities, including Rome and Milan.