The experiment is the first of its kind in Europe, China’s ambassador to Italy, Li Ruiyu, said at a meeting to announce the project, according to a statement from the Italian ministry. The four Chinese officers, who were trained by Italians in Beijing, will wear the same uniforms they wear at home so their compatriots can recognize them easily.
More than 3 million Chinese tourists come to Italy every year, according to Liao Jinrong, the director general of the Chinese international co-operation bureau.
“This service was planned with Chinese tourists in mind and, if it works well, we may consider other forms of collaboration, given the presence of the Chinese community in our country,” said the interior minister, Angelino Alfano.
The officers will share information with Italian police and help Chinese tourists if they need to contact local authorities and diplomats from Monday until 13 May, the ministry said.
Liao, the head of the Chinese international co-operation bureau, said the officers’ assignment was a ‘historic moment’ recalling that the route between China and Italy was mapped 700 years ago by Venetian merchant traveller Marco Polo.