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. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
by Marzia De Giuli, Ge Chen
ROME, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Police officers from China are to collaborate with police officers from Italy in two joint patrols in Rome and Milan in a program based on a Sino-Italian agreement launched here on Monday.
According to the program, police who patrol touristic areas of Rome in central Italy and the business city Milan in northern Italy will include two Chinese officers each, who can speak Italian and English besides Mandarin, for two weeks starting from Monday.
"Today it is an important day because we are strengthening collaboration with China in a very special field," Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told a press conference in Rome in the presence of the two countries' authorities.
Alfano said Chinese uniformed police would work together with Italian uniformed police in Rome and Milan to reinforce the sense of safety for the many Chinese tourists visiting Italy.
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. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
The interior minister said he hoped the bilateral collaboration would then be deepened with further agreements, and also extended to other Italian cities, because "China has a fundamental role in the world's destiny."
"Through this initiative, we are telling Italian citizens that their state is joining hands with a great country, in a team work to ensure the safety of everybody, including Italian citizens and Chinese tourists in Italy," Alfano also told Xinhua.
Liao Jinrong, director-general of the international cooperation department at China's ministry of public security, and deputy head of Interpol's national central bureau in Beijing, praised the initiative as "the result of a very positive collaboration between Chinese and Italian police forces."
Liao stressed that the initiative, also a question of good faith between the two countries, was the first one of its kind carried out by Chinese police in Europe. The program, he explained, stemmed from a bilateral agreement reached in 2014.
Liao said that in recent years, the business and cultural exchanges between China and Italy had become very frequent, and smooth communication with police forces was a fundamental ingredient to ensure safety.
Thanks to the joint patrols, the two countries would also be able to further deepen knowledge of their legal systems, Liao said, expressing hope the program would set an example for more initiatives with other European countries.
Gennaro Capoluongo, head of the international police cooperation service in Italy, told Xinhua Italian police had already carried out similar initiatives with other countries including the United States and Spain, especially during peak tourism periods. "We feel proud to be the first one in Europe to undergo such an important collaboration program with China," he said.