By Melissa Locker
May 09, 2016
Credit: Getty Images

In an intriguing new partnership, China is dispatching police officers to Rome and Milan to help the Italian force patrol tourist sites and help keep visitors safe and calm.

The Chinese police officers are taking part in an exchange program of sorts in the hopes of assisting the more than three million Chinese visitors who flock to Italy each year. China has sent over a group of officers in the hopes that their presence will assuage fears among Chinese tourists who are nervous in the wake of attacks in Paris and Belgium.

While The Guardian reports that crime and murder rates in Italy are at an all-time low, the government is willing to go to great lengths to make sure that wealthy Chinese tourists feel secure enough to continue visiting—and shopping—in Italy.

This is the first time that China has sent officers to Europe to protect tourists, according to Liao Jinrong, the head of international cooperation at the Ministry of Public Security who recently spoke to The Guardian.

The four Chinese officers received special training in Beijing and speak Italian as well as English. Once in Italy, the officers were paired with an Italian partner and have limited police powers while on duty patrolling the busiest tourist attractions in Rome. Chinese officers will be stationed in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, for example, ready to help Chinese tourists report crimes like pickpocketing or mugging, or to contact authorities.

According to CNN, in 2015 over 109 million Chinese tourists with an estimated spending power of $229 billion traveled abroad, with Europe as their preferred destination outside of Asia.