Soldiers without guns: how do China PMC
Material posted: Publication date: 17-07-2017
This week the rebels in South Sudan said that it had kidnapped four employees of the oil consortium DAR Petroleum Operating Company. The consortium includes a Chinese oil giants CNPC, Sinopec and Malaysia's Petronas. The rebels are demanding that the Chinese company left the country. The authorities of South Sudan, which is extremely important in Chinese money, assured the Chinese partners that they will take all measures to improve the safety of oil workers.

In the summer of 2016 in South Sudan were killed two Chinese peacekeepers and companies CNPC had to evacuate their employees. For the protection of oilmen responded in the same Chinese private security firm DeWe, which was under fire of the rebels rescued 330 Chinese citizens.
Just since 2004, the hot spots were killed about 50 Chinese nationals and tens of thousands in need of evacuation.

Economic expansion

Today, outside of China only in state-owned companies employ hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens. The total number of overseas Chinese are estimated in the millions, the number of Chinese companies in the tens of thousands.

China is working on the concept of "One belt and one road" — create "Economic belt of the silk road and Maritime silk road of XXI century" — and plans to strengthen economic ties with the countries of Central and Western Asia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, to join in infrastructure projects, to secure a supply of raw materials and establish markets. Growing commercial interests abroad, investment, people, objects and transport routes require protection.

On the geopolitical, diplomatic and financial reasons to only use its armed forces to ensure the safety of China not with his hands.

Others of us do not — give their

Until recently, Chinese companies have hired Western and local PMCs — private military companies. But things can change, especially after the events in South Sudan and in connection with the growth of tension in relations between the US and China.

In 2016, the head of China XI Jinping said that the Chinese companies operating in dangerous regions, should be protected in emergency situations. Two months later, the company DeWe announced that it plans to create two "camps" in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and the goal is mass creation of such camps in all the unstable countries where there are economic interests of China.

Today the company in China is a camp with a copy of a "typical" middle Eastern town, where are the teachings for actions under fire of the terrorists, evacuation and hostage rescue. Since 2013, about 90 thousand civil employees of Chinese companies working abroad, were teaching there. In DeWe 352 employees work outside of China (in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya), and the subcontractor hired about 3,000 local security guards.

In 2016 outside China have worked 3200 employees of private Chinese security companies. For comparison, UN peacekeeping missions have served 2600 Chinese soldiers.

Questions of weapons

For the most part, Chinese contractors are not armed. China really doesn't want his PMC has become the object of international media and human rights persecution, as is the case with Western PMCs, especially with Blackwater.

Ironically, today the founder of Blackwater — the American Eric Prince works for a company out of Hong Kong with close ties to state corporations of China and is engaged in projects for the Chinese in Africa. Prince also plans to establish two bases in Yunnan province and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region. He says it will be the training base to ensure the safety of Chinese companies, but there were questions about why Prince will work in the troubled region of Muslim Uighurs, and on the border with Myanmar and Laos, where China's problems with drug traffickers and terrorists.

And although the Chinese PMCs are not officially armed, but they "manage" armed local subcontractors, as was the case in South Sudan and Iraq. In the case of a critical situation, the Chinese PMCs can "borrow" weapons from their subcontractors.

The ethnic factor also hinders the application of armed PMC China. In Africa, complex is not always the most positive attitude of local residents to the growing number of Chinese in their countries. In 2010 in Zambia, Chinese security company opened fire on local workers demanding higher wages, followed by anti-Chinese unrest.

The national audit office

Chinese PMCs hardly a market players. They are founded by former military or police and are monitored by government agencies, and major customers is also a major public corporations.

And began to they created on the initiative of the state. In 2007, for the protection of 600 Chinese diplomats established the office of consular protection abroad, which was responsible for the security of embassies and diplomats. In 2009, discussed the issue of sending Chinese police forces to protect the copper mines of Chinese companies in Afghanistan.

In the end, the strategic choice of China fell not on the state power structures, working abroad, not peacekeepers, not on contracts with foreign PMCs and private security companies.

Chinese companies today refuse contracts with the Americans and the British and Chinese are hiring PMCs. Chinese business in the hot spots is now no need to hire and are often useless for local security, no need to lose face, pride and secrets of the company, hiring Western PMCs.

While China highlights that the Chinese protection is purely an economic market activity within the concept of "One belt and one road" from a position of "laissez faire". Casualties among the local population, international scandals and anti-Chinese sentiments of the middle Kingdom do not need, but the safety of its citizens and assets must be provided.

Today, Chinese companies abroad are spending 10 billion dollars a year on security. Only 10% of the money go to the Chinese security firms. This business has room to grow.

Ilya Plekhanov


Tags: China , PMC , assessment