For the first time ever Chinese police officers arrived to Dubrovnik, to monitor the City with their Croatian colleagues. We were more than happy to walk with Lili Long and Chuande Zhang across the Old City and discover why they came here and what their impressions are. During our walk, they were constantly stopped by Chinese tourists, who wanted to take photos with them or just talk and see what it’s like to patrol in Dubrovnik. We’ve got all answers here!
Why did you come to Dubrovnik?
LL: Our main purpose is to help ensure the safety of Chinese tourists who come to Croatia. By this joint patrol program, we can enhance the collaboration between the Croatian and Chinese police forces. I think this is a positive start of the collaboration between the two countries.
CZ: I think that Chinese and Croatian police have a high degree of mutual trust. Through this joint police patrol, we can enhance the security and the confidence and feelings between our two countries.
On the beat on the Stradun with Croatian Police - Photo Mark Thomas
You’ve been here for almost two weeks. What are your experiences in Dubrovnik? Do you consider it a safe city?
LL: I think that Dubrovnik is a very safe city. It has beautiful scenery and they preserved the Old City very well. This is a different experience for us, Chinese police officers, to come here and to join this program. Chinese tourists were surprised, they felt that they have a stronger sense of security.
We’ve seen that you get many reactions from the tourists, does that happen often?
LL: Every day! We ask them how long are they planning to stay here and whether they need any help, have they came across anything bad. Fortunately, no bad things have happened since we arrived.
How do you see Dubrovnik in general? Not as a police officer, but as a regular person visiting the city?
CZ: Dubrovnik Old City is really special. There is no similar place in China. I enjoyed all the scenery here. I walked around the City Walls and it’s really different, makes me feel good. Dubrovnik Old City is marked by success and prosperity and a high level of civilization. I like this city!
Happy to help (and pose for photos) with Chinese tourists - Photo Mark Thomas
Do you feel welcome here? How were you greeted?
LL: The police officers here helped us a lot with our daily life. Tourists, not only Chinese, but from all over the world are also very kind to us. They are surprised and happy to see us. We feel very welcome; everybody has been so friendly.
You haven’t had reactions only from the tourists but also from the locals?
CZ: Yes, just this morning an old man from Dubrovnik talked to me. He saw that I’m Chinese so he told me that his mother and father lived in China around 20 years ago. He felt some emotions when he saw me, being Chinese and felt close to me. That kind of situations happen often.
Did you learn any Croatian?
LL: Yes, of course! Dobro jutro (good morning), dobar dan (good day), hvala (thank you) and ukusan (tasty). Because I like to eat delicious food so I had to learn ‘’ukusan’’.
CZ: I know - hvala (thank you), bok (hello), adio (goodbye) and kenova (what’s up – a common word for Dubrovnik).
Learning from their Croatian colleagues - Photo Mark Thomas
What are differences in food, culture and other things between Croatia and China?
LL: There are many differences. When it comes to food, Chinese people like all kinds of food, for example very spicy. In China, you can taste food from all over the world, but here it’s mostly focused on Croatian and maybe Italian food. I think there’s no Chinese restaurant here, but hope that in the very near future there will be one. Because more and more Chinese tourists come here and we feel a little bit homesick, we miss our food.
CZ: People here are more open, I think. In China, we are a little shy. People here are very kind, even if they didn’t know you, they will smile to you. I think that’s interesting.
Officer Chuande Zhang in Dubrovnik - Photo Mark Thomas
Can you compare your job in China with this here, in Croatia?
CZ: Maybe in China it’s a bit busier. Here we’re mostly focused on communication and sharing experiences with the Croatian Police, while in China we have every day work that has to be done.
We lead a different lifestyle, this is maybe a bit slower to you? You may have noticed that we like to drink our coffee for a long time?
CZ: In China, people like to have tea instead of coffee, but we also have time to rest every day.
Out of the million police officers in China, how did they chose you to come to Dubrovnik?
LL: First of all, I was lucky! Also, the language was a priority, as well as experience.
CZ: I was really honored to take part in the joint patrol here. I was in charge with China and European countries, so I’m familiar with this area and that was the key for picking me.
We walked the beat with the Chinese Police - Photo Mark Thomas
When they said that you’re going to Dubrovnik, what was the first thing that came to your mind?
LL: King’s Landing.
CZ: Lucky! But also King’s Landing. Game of Thrones is really popular in China and I have seen all the seven seasons.
What do you miss the most?
CZ: My daughter. And food! (laughs)
LL: My son. And food too!
Would you like to come back?
LL: Sure I would like to come back with my family. Before I came here, my colleagues were jealous, because they wanted to come here too. After I go back to China, I think I will introduce Croatia to them and maybe in the near future, some of them will choose to come too.
Yes, of course we had to try the police hat on for size - Photo Mark Thomas