Oh the irony....
Xinhua said the Sudan People's Liberation Army attacked a road-building site.
World News - Chinese workers held by Sudan rebels
"We are holding 29 Chinese workers after a battle with the army yesterday," a spokesman for the SPLM-N said. "They are in good health. We are holding them for their own safety because the army was trying to strike again."
The army said rebels had attacked the compound of a Chinese construction company operating in the area between the towns of Abbasiya and Rashad in the north of the state and captured 70 civilians.
"Most of them are Chinese. They (the rebels) are targeting civilians," said army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad.
Oh the irony....
Xinhua said the Sudan People's Liberation Army attacked a road-building site.
“the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson
almost 1 year ago. I am waiting to see China's reaction this time
Implications of China’s Military Evacuation of Citizens from Libya
Publication: China Brief Volume: 11 Issue: 4
March 10, 2011 07:01 PM Age: 35 min
Category: China Brief, Home Page, Military/Security, Africa, China and the Asia-Pacific
By: Gabe Collins , Andrew S. Erickson
The Jamestown Foundation: Advances in PLA C4ISR Capabilities[tt_news]=37633&tx_ttnews[backPid]=25&cHash=c1302a9ecaddfc23450fb6ec13a98136
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) made history with the news on February 25 that the frigate Xuzhou, one of the navy’s most modern warships, had been dispatched to waters near Libya to support and protect the evacuation of Chinese citizens. The Libya operation is the Chinese military’s first operational deployment to Africa and the Mediterranean, as well as its largest noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) to date, with virtually all 35,000 PRC citizens in the country evacuated as of March 3. The bulk of Chinese nationals in Libya were evacuated by sea on chartered merchant vessels (primarily from Benghazi), in addition to chartered aircraft (primarily from Tripoli), military aircraft (Sabha to Khartoum, Sudan), and overland (buses to Tunisia and Egypt). A significant number of individuals are still traveling back to China via international transit hubs, but none are vulnerable to the growing violence in Libya. The deployment of Xuzhou sets a major precedent because it marked the first time China has sent military assets to a distant part of the world to protect its citizens there. This is an historical first for China, and represents Beijing’s growing capability to conduct long-range operations that it was both incapable of doing, and unwilling to do, only a decade ago.
Coordinated Multiservice Operations
The NEO operation involved an intricate level of interagency coordination, with the Ministries of Commerce, Foreign Affairs, and Public Security working closely with the Civil Aviation Administration of China and consular officials. In addition, Chinese companies operating in Libya, including the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Rail Construction and shippers like COSCO who helped evacuate Chinese citizens from Libya, coordinated closely with the government agencies listed above (Xinhua News Agency, February 24).
Major General Ji Mingkui of the PLA’s National Defense University (NDU) supported the idea that improved coordination and communication within and beyond the services has bolstered China’s ability to perform non-traditional security missions, noting that “in previous evacuation missions, the PLA Navy would not have performed well because tasking areas suffered from siloing” (Sina.com, February 26).
China’s intensive Libya rescue mission also marks the first use of long-range military transport aircraft to rescue Chinese citizens from a foreign conflict zone. On February 28, four IL-76 transport aircraft were dispatched to Libya via Khartoum with Central Military Commission (CMC) approval. As of the evening of March 2, the IL-76s had moved 1,700 Chinese from Libya to Khartoum, Sudan.
During the Libya operation, the four PLAAF IL-76s used Khartoum as a stopover on both the inbound and outbound legs of the trip (Xinhua News Agency, March 4). Khartoum’s use as a waypoint reflects Sudan’s strategic importance to China. Indeed, as Chinese economic and human presence in Africa continues to rise, the fact that military aircraft were allowed to land and refuel there also suggest that the Sudanese government may be comfortable with the idea of fitting into a Chinese “places, not bases” strategy whereby the PRC ensures that it has access to various airfields to support future evacuation operations and other missions in Africa. Furthermore, China Communications Construction Company’s recent announcement that it has entered into a $1.2 billion contract to build a new airport in Khartoum capable of handling aircraft as large as the Airbus A380 will offer incentives and ensure that local infrastructure is up to the task (BBC, February 15).
External Strategic Implications
The deployments send a clear diplomatic message: Beijing is unwilling to tolerate Chinese citizens being harmed by large-scale political violence overseas. They also signal that as the Chinese military becomes more proficient in long-range operations, it will increasingly be able to scale-up deployments if necessary.
China’s strong participation in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and other areas has created a core group of personnel with operational experience in key parts of the world. China had nearly 1,900 troops detailed to UN peacekeeping missions as of January 31, 2011 . Transport logistics and the political will to send forces overseas have been missing links to date with respect to creating a large expeditionary capability within the PLA, and the Libya deployments mark a first step to addressing both issues. Also, like the ongoing Gulf of Aden counter-piracy task forces, this offers PLAN forces a valuable training opportunity, so that they will be even more experienced and capable in the future.
The Libya mission builds on the PLAN’s Gulf of Aden deployments, and showcases potential military missions “beyond Taiwan” in which the PLA can become involved. China’s decision and ability to send a modern warship and long-range military transport aircraft to a violence-wracked country halfway across the globe will have strategic repercussions that will reverberate for some time, particularly in East and Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean region, and Africa.
On the other hand, Xuzhou’s mission may actually incentivize Chinese cooperation against non-traditional security threats because, along with the Gulf of Aden counter-piracy mission, it is a concrete demonstration of capabilities that will likely make it harder for China to free ride during future crises that require multilateral responses. Prominent Chinese strategists are supporting a move away from China’s traditional mantra of non-interference in other countries’ internal politics. For example, Zhao Kejin of Tsinghua University argues that China can no longer afford to “use a mechanical interpretation of the non-interference policy” and needs to adopt a more flexible way of thinking that takes each situation and its characteristics into account (Global Times, February 24).
Domestic Strategic Implications
The successful—and unprecedented—PLAN and PLAAF participation in the Libya NEO operation has significant ramifications for defense procurement and security policy discussions within China. These include accelerated procurement of certain key naval assets such as carriers, the wisdom of forward-deployed forces, how to manage the growing Chinese expatriate presence in Africa and other volatile regions where security problems are almost certain to arise, and how to handle popular nationalist pressures for intervening when Chinese citizens abroad are threatened.
Successfully protecting Chinese merchant ships from pirates and evacuating Chinese citizens from violent areas are great cards for PLA senior naval officers and civilian supporters of a strong navy to play during internal procurement debates. Having the PLAN consistently answer the call when China’s overseas comrades and commercial interests need protection clearly explains the force’s value and will smooth the way for advocates of the carrier program, as well as those who seek a more robust long-range naval capability in general.
By highlighting the diplomatic value of a powerful and clearly visible surface ship, the Xuzhou mission may also spark important debates between proponents of the surface warfare and submarine communities within the PLA and civilian leadership. The surface warfare faction can argue that it is the most useful in handling the increasingly frequent non-traditional security missions involving Chinese interests and that naval spending should therefore favor carriers and other visible platforms. In a recent analysis of the Libya evacuation, Global Times reflected pro-surface ship sentiments, stating “China must speed up building its ocean cruising fleet, including aircraft carriers. An ocean cruising navy will enhance China’s ability to execute its global strategy not only as a deterrence against military provocations, but also as overall protection for China’s national interests” (Global Times, February 28). The military will have the funds to further develop expeditionary capabilities, as China plans to increase military spending by 12.7 percent in 2011, to $91.5 billion .
Chinese policymakers will also likely place more consideration on maintaining a sustained naval presence in the Indian Ocean region than they did prior to the Libya crisis. The main reason Xuzhou was a useful asset in the Libya contingency was because it was already forward deployed as part of China’s anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden. Senior PLAN and civilian leaders are receiving a firsthand lesson in how useful forward deployed military assets are for a country like China that has increasingly global interests. The anti-piracy missions cracked open the door, but we believe that from this point forward, there is a strong likelihood that the PLAN will seek to assume a more sustained presence in the Indian Ocean region, perhaps extending toward the Persian Gulf as well.
China’s Foreign, Defense, and Commerce Ministries will increasingly have to grapple with a Chinese expatriate presence in volatile areas that is both growing and becoming more diffuse. The basic economics of working overseas are very appealing to many Chinese workers due to the higher pay they receive. In turn, as the number of PRC expatriates working for larger companies like CNPC or China Rail Construction in places like Libya, Angola, Congo, or Sudan increases, business opportunities arise for independent entrepreneurs who follow and establish Chinese restaurants and other amenities for the large company workers. As small merchants, traders, and others join, the large company investments become an anchor for a larger and more diffuse Chinese community in that country.
Beijing will likely struggle to balance the national pride many Chinese feel about the rescue operation with the fact that the precedent set will substantially increase popular pressure for intervention in future crises. The issue is an emotional one for those involved in the rescue and likely their families as well. An article describing the March 1 rendezvous between Venizelos, a cruise ship carrying more than 2,000 Chinese evacuees, and Xuzhou says many on deck burst into tears of joy when they sighted the warship (International Online, March 4). Two bits of anecdotal evidence support the assertion that the government is assiduously managing reporting of the military aspects of the mission. Contacts in China tell us television coverage of the military’s participation in the Libya evacuation mission by Mainland stations has been more subdued than they would have expected. On the Internet, entering the Chinese-character search terms for “Libya Xuzhou Navy” into Google, which does not submit to PRC government censorship, yields roughly 1.2 million search results. Plugging the same terms into Baidu, which complies, yields only 98,800 results, as of March 4.
This dynamic has real strategic implications for two major reasons. First, in the event of major political violence, natural disasters, or other dangerous situations, workers who live in the compounds of major Chinese companies can be located relatively easily and their evacuation arranged accordingly. The predominance of large firm workers and their concentrated locations in Libya facilitated the evacuation process. Independent businessmen and traders, on the other hand, will likely be much harder for the PRC Embassy to locate and communicate with in a time of turmoil. Second, independent entrepreneurs who may have much of their wealth tied up in a shop or place of business are more likely to use violence to defend their assets against looters or marauders. Use of force to defend property, while entirely understandable, would exacerbate street violence and raises the risk that unrest combined with latent anti-Chinese sentiments among the working population in some countries could catalyze more explicitly anti-Chinese violence and put additional pressure on Beijing to intervene.
1. “Contributors to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations,” United Nations, 31 January 2011, http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/co...11/jan11_1.pdf.
2. “Report on the Implementation of the Central and Local Budgets in 2010 and the Draft Estimates of the 2011 Central and Local Budgets,” Ministry of Finance, March 5, 2011, online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/2011NPCBudgetReportZhFull.pdf.
Last edited by xinhui; 29 Jan 12, at 19:41.
“the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson
Sudan Rescues Some Chinese Held by Rebels
Sudan Rescues Some Chinese Held by Rebels - WSJ.com
By BRIAN SPEGELE in Beijing and NICHOLAS BARIYO in Kampala, Uganda
Sudan said it rescued 14 Chinese nationals held captive by rebels since Saturday in the country's restive South Kordofan region, though 15 others remained unaccounted for as public concern intensified in China that Beijing hasn't done enough to protect its growing overseas work force.
Details around both the capture and the partial rescue of the Chinese workers remained murky.
A spokesman for the government in Khartoum, Rabie Abdelaty, said Monday that government forces were continuing to pursue the rebels, who seized the 29 Chinese workers involved in a road-construction project during rebel clashes with government forces on Saturday. "We are confident that Sudanese armed forces will rescue all of the captives," he said.
An officer in the Sudanese military intelligence said Monday that about a dozen Chinese security agents hired by the Chinese construction company were working alongside Sudanese personnel to rescue the workers. Precise details of their role were unclear on Monday, including whether they were authorized to use deadly force on rebels.
The rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, said the Chinese workers were unharmed and were being protected from fighting in the area by the group. "What we stand for before and after this incident are democracy and a just peace. This should be better understood by China," said Yasir Arman, secretary-general of the group, in a statement.
China has said very little about either the rescue or the status of the remaining kidnapped workers. The Chinese Embassy in Sudan declined to comment on the search-and-rescue mission, and the Foreign Ministry in Beijing didn't respond to a request for comment. The kidnapped employees were working on a road-construction project in the region for the Chinese state-owned Power Construction Corp. of China, affiliated with Sinohydro Corp., which didn't respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The kidnapping is the third high-profile case of Chinese workers being caught in conflict zones during the past year, underscoring how China's increasingly global business interests put more of its citizens in harm's way and make its long-standing policy of noninterference in other countries increasing difficult. China is deeply engaged in infrastructure-building across the developing world, part of an effort to curry favor among governments in order to secure energy assets.
China's state-run media in each incident have highlighted Beijing's attempts to rescue workers or prevent future attacks. Nonetheless, Chinese security and foreign-policy experts say China's state-owned companies are often ill-prepared for such incidents.
"Security consciousness among the leaders of some companies hasn't yet reached a certain level," said an executive at security-services provider Beijing Special Security Service Co., who gave only his surname, Chen.
Beijing also fears an international backlash if its military is seen as aggressively expanding overseas missions.
On China's boisterous social-media websites, the Sudan incident renewed calls among some for China's military to get more involved in protecting workers in conflict zones. "I'm really not a running dog to American imperialism," wrote one user of Sina Corp's Weibo microblogging service, "but if 29 Americans were kidnapped by rebels in Sudan then surely... [U.S.] Special Forces would have come ashore and carried out a rescue."
In February, China evacuated more than 35,000 of its citizens from Libya, many of whom worked as laborers on infrastructure-building projects, as fighting intensified. Beijing dispatched at least one warship to the region in what some analysts described as an unusual demonstration of force by China. In October, 13 Chinese sailors on a cargo vessel were murdered on Thailand's portion of the Mekong River, sparking widespread public concern in China and promises by Beijing to better protect Chinese shippers. Nine Thai soldiers were later arrested in connection with the attacks. In December, China launched joint armed patrols along the river together with Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
"The Chinese government has to show to its citizens that it is taking security of Chinese expatriates very, very seriously," said Jonathan Holslag, a researcher at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies.
China has deep energy ties to Sudan as well as the newly independent South Sudan. China is the largest buyer of oil from Sudan, importing the equivalent of about 260,000 barrels of oil a day last year. Beijing has worked in recent months as a mediator to resolve an oil-transit dispute between Sudan and South Sudan.
Khartoum alleges the rebels receive funding and orders from South Sudan, which is led by a party that is also called the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. The rebel group in Sudan says it is independent of the South Sudan government.
The international reach of China's military has expanded significantly in recent years. Its navy has taken part in antipiracy patrols in Gulf of Aden, for example, though few think it would open a permanent military base overseas in the near future, a move that would likely provoke an anxious response from Washington and others already wary of China's rapid rise.
Nonetheless, China will attempt to better protect citizens around the world without departing from its noninterference policies, said Jin Canrong, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at Renmin University in Beijing.
—Olivia Geng in Beijing contributed to this article.
“the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson
China Denies Sudan Freed Workers Held by Rebels
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN and ANDREW JACOBS
Published: January 30, 2012
KHARTOUM, Sudan — The Sudanese military said Monday that it had rescued 14 of the 29 Chinese road workers kidnapped by rebels in southern Sudan, but China denied early Tuesday that any workers had been freed.
A report Tuesday in the official China Daily newspaper said Sudanese rebels had acknowledged holding the workers, whom they described as “in good health and in safe hands.”
Sudanese officials did not provide details about the workers’ reported rescue on Monday other than saying that they had “liberated” the Chinese workers, who were seized Saturday in a rebel attack on an encampment in Southern Kordofan, an oil-rich, rebellion-racked state.
“The abducted Chinese personnel have had all communications links with the outside world cut,” Xinhua, China’s official news agency, said Monday, quoting a Chinese Embassy official in Khartoum.
Xinhua said 18 workers had managed to evade the attackers on Saturday, 17 of whom were later “moved to a safe place” by the Sudanese Army. One worker remains missing, according to Xinhua.
There was speculation on Tuesday that those 17 workers picked up by the army had been confused with the 29 who had been abducted.
In an interview with the state owned People’s Daily newspaper, a worker who had evaded the rebels, Han Zhangliang, said the missing worker had likely been shot during the chaos of Saturday’s attack. Speaking to a reporter in Khartoum, he said the rebels had stolen the workers’ personal property before fleeing with some of them. The Chinese workers were building a road to connect two remote areas, Chinese news media said, although Western human rights groups warned last week that the Sudanese government was rapidly building roads in that same area as a way to rush in troops to crush a growing insurrection.
China is one of Sudan’s most loyal supporters, continuing to buy billions of dollars of Sudanese oil, despite Western sanctions and the fact that Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.
China is also trying to mediate in the escalating crisis between Sudan and the newly independent nation of South Sudan, which have deadlocked in recent weeks over how to share oil revenues.
Both sides are digging in, and oil production has halted as relations between Sudan and South Sudan become more poisonous.
“The kidnapping of these workers is a crime against humanity,” said Rabie A. Atti, a Sudanese government spokesman.
On Monday, Mr. Atti said that the kidnapping was “supported by the South Sudan government,” while officials in South Sudan blamed Sudan for backing recent militia attacks in their country. It was not clear why Sudanese rebels would have kidnapped Chinese workers.
On Sunday, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a rebel group operating in Kordofan and allied with South Sudan, said it “has nothing against China and the Chinese.”
“The leadership of the S.P.L.M.-N.,” a statement from the group said, is “exerting the maximum effort to obtain accurate information from our forces in the field regarding the Chinese who were detained in Southern Kordofan.”
Chinese companies have been operating in Sudan for years, helping increase oil production to about 500,000 barrels a day. But the formal secession in July of South Sudan, which had fought for independence for decades, has complicated things.
While most of the oil lies in the south, most pipelines are in the north. The two sides have not agreed on how to share oil profits, and this month South Sudan began to shut down wells, saying no more oil would flow until a comprehensive agreement was reached.
The attack on Saturday underlined the risks for China in sending ever-greater numbers of its workers into some of the world’s most turbulent countries.
While China has been sending large work crews to unstable countries for decades, a rise in Internet usage and in the availability of information from abroad has made the Chinese public much more sensitive to what happens to the workers.
China has moved aggressively to build highways, airports, bridges, dams and other big infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions.
Jeffrey Gettleman reported from Khartoum, Sudan, and Andrew Jacobs from Beijing. Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Hong Kong.
Doesn't look like anyone was rescued. Seems the 17 managed to escape themselves.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.
China sends squad to help rescue workers in Sudan
Updated: 2012-01-31 15:02
By Hu Yinan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Comments(3) Print Mail Large Medium Small
China has sent a Foreign Ministry-led working group to Sudan to assist the rescue of 29 Chinese workers abducted by local rebel forces, who claim to be holding them for their own safety since clashes with government forces over the weekend.
Members of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council are also part of the group that left Beijing on Monday night, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin said Tuesday.
A group of 47 Chinese workers were separated on Saturday while working on a multi-million dollar road project in Sudan's South Kordofan state, where clashes between the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) and the Sudanese army have been ongoing for months.
The Sudanese army found 17 workers and transferred them to safety. One Chinese worker reportedly suffered gunshot wounds and remains missing, according to the Global Times newspaper.
Sudan's SUNA news agency on Monday said 14 of the 29 workers held by the rebels had been released by the Sudanese military, but the news has not been confirmed by the Chinese side.
The rebels have said they mean no harm and the workers are in good hands.
Liu, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, on Tuesday urged the safety and release of the Chinese personnel.
Kidnapped Chinese workers released in Sudan
More than two dozen Chinese construction workers abducted in Sudan have been released, China's official Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.
The 29 workers flew out of Sudan aboard a Red Cross plane bound for Nairobi, Kenya, Xinhua reported, citing an unnamed source with the International Committee of the Red Cross. They were to be turned over to Chinese officials there, Xinhua said.
Rebels abducted the workers January 28 from a camp run by China's Power Construction Corp. in volatile South Kordofan. Eighteen other workers in the camp escaped the raid, which the Sudanese military blamed on the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North - a rebel force in the border region with neighboring South Sudan.
One worker died in the raid, Xinhua said. Sudanese authorities handed over the worker's body Tuesday, according to Xinhua.
No harsh action as expected. It is the best for China's interest to maintain good relationship with all sides if China wants a long term tap of Sudan's oil. I am just curious what is on rebel's agenda with all of this capture and release.
Wonder how the release was secured. If they got paid off then more Chinese will go missing in the future. If force was used then it will be different.
This story makes me think its a wonder that so far Indians have not faced the same in Afghanistan with the civilian projects.
Latest write up from our friends at the US naval war college.
By Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins
China's New Challenge: Protecting Its Citizens Abroad - China Real Time Report - WSJ
Recent incidents in which a total of 54 Chinese citizens working in Sudan and Egypt were abducted — with one killed during a rescue attempt — highlight the increasing risks Chinese expatriates face as the country ventures into volatile parts of the world in search of resources and business opportunities. Unfortunately for China’s more than 847,000 citizens overseas, with their more than 13,000 enterprises and more than $1 trillion in assets, Beijing’s foreign policy is becoming increasingly unpopular in the same restive areas in Africa and the Middle East where Chinese businesspeople are chasing fortunes.
Compounding this trend, Chinese in unstable areas tend to cluster in easily-identified compounds and are perceived not to engage with locals socially.
With China’s hunger for resources and markets only expected to grow further, how capable is the country of protecting its own?
New trouble spots
While China’s footprint in Africa has been covered extensively in the international media, not much public attention has been paid to the country’s growing economic and human presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. These two countries have high potential to become trouble spots for Chinese workers as Chinese investment increases, the U.S. military reduces its presence, and Chinese companies and workers increasingly have to provide for their own security.
In Iraq, China’s largest oil and gas producer CNPC is helping to develop oilfields with reserves estimated to exceed 20 billion barrels and likely has at least 1,200 workers in the country. Given that CNPC’s oil operations in Iraq are likely to eclipse its Sudanese projects in terms of both physical scale and oil output — and that Chinese firms are also likely to seek opportunities in helping to repair and expand Iraq’s oil and civil infrastructure — it is not unreasonable to expect the eventual total Chinese presence in Iraq to exceed 20,000 workers. Depending on the opportunities available for small businessmen from China, this number could rise even further.
In Afghanistan, Chinese investment projects include the huge Aynak copper mine and a series of oilfield developments by CNPC that this year are slated to bring Afghanistan its first ever domestic oil production. Afghanistan’s mineral sector has significant potential, with U.S. government officials estimating that the country may hold as much as $1 trillion in lithium, copper, cobalt, iron, gold and other minerals. As such, we anticipate that Chinese investors will increasingly seek to develop mines and supporting infrastructure, and that the total number of Chinese workers and businessmen in the country could eventually rise to at least several thousand.
As China’s profile rises relative to that of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is likely to become a lightning rod that attracts attention and forces Beijing to take a more hands-on approach to protecting citizens overseas. We do not expect in the next few years to see special forces operations like the recent U.S. Navy SEAL raid to rescue hostages in Somalia, but Beijing is likely to take a more muscular approach to protecting Chinese citizens working overseas as its military power projection ability grows and nationalistic pressure rises at home.
Increasing Capabilities… and Expectations
China’s power projection capabilities and Indian Ocean presence are growing gradually but substantially. This has important implications for the security of Chinese worker groups and economic assets in Iraq and Afghanistan as the U.S. draws down and removes its forces.
From a very low baseline, China has been launching unprecedented responses to incidents threatening citizens overseas with increasing frequency and muscularity. In response to the pirating of Chinese-flagged vessels in the Gulf of Aden, China has since December of 2008 dispatched 10 naval task forces to the region. In a textbook example of logistical coordination, amid the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime by rebels, China dispatched the guided missile frigate Xuzhou to symbolically oversee the sea-borne component of the evacuation of all 35,000 of its expats from Libya in February 2011. The PLA Air Force also sent four IL-76 long-range transport aircraft to evacuate Chinese nationals from central Libya. Following the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on a cargo vessel on a Thailand-controlled portion of the Mekong River, a Chinese paramilitary People’s Armed Police (PAP) border unit began joint patrols on the river with its Thai, Lao and Burmese counterparts.
These successful operations, and the fact that the PLA Navy just took delivery of its fourth Type 071 amphibious warfare vessel, raise expectations at home that Beijing will protect its own. The first aspect of this push is likely to come via improved consular service to keep track of Chinese citizens abroad, apprise them of risks, and assist in evacuation and rescue operations.
In response to the abductions in Egypt and Sudan, Zhejiang University’s non-traditional security center director Yu Xiaofeng and his colleague Gan Junxian penned an op-ed in the Chinese edition of the Global Times calling for expanding consular protection of Chinese overseas based on best practices of the U.S., UK and Japanese governments. China’s Foreign Ministry issues travel advisories and coordinates evacuations of citizens in emergencies, but so far has not played the hands-on protective role that its American and other Western counterparts do.
Opportunity for Private Security Contractors
Private security contractors are also likely to play a larger role in protecting Chinese workers overseas, since they can provide an armed presence in a less escalatory way than direct deployment of military or police forces in foreign countries. The Sudan incident appears to herald a new factor in protection and recovery of Chinese overseas workers: As The Wall Street Journal reported, Sudanese troops engaged in the rescue effort were joined by a dozen armed Chinese private security contractors. Among China’s emerging private security providers, Shandong Huawei Security Group advertises an “Overseas Service Center” based in Beijing that includes personnel drawn from retired military special forces and the PAP. While the source of the contractors who may have assisted in Sudan remains unclear, Shandong Huawei or one of its brethren seem like a probable source.
The idea that Chinese companies would hire private security providers to help them manage risks in volatile frontier areas has been in discussion for some time. In the spring of 2010, a prominent Western private security firm told us that a number of large Chinese firms use its services and that it had “definitely seen an increased interest” from Chinese energy, natural resources and construction firms seeking expert advice on the political, operational and security risks associated with their investments and projects in Africa, Middle East and other far-flung locations.
We suspect these firms’ expertise in risk management will be increasingly welcome in Chinese boardrooms and investment sites abroad as Beijing’s rising profile forces it to take sides in local conflicts where Chinese citizens live and work, thereby attracting popular anger and potentially fueling additional violence against PRC expats. Beijing might ultimately rather see private contractors on the front lines than risk the diplomatic fallout that could result from sending active duty military or police personnel into conflict zones to protect Chinese workers and economic assets. Controlling the actions of private security firms will be a key concern for Beijing, however, particularly following Washington’s problems with doing so in Iraq.
An additional complicating factor is that private security services are expensive. Cash-strapped Chinese small businessmen might instead choose to arm themselves, which could further escalate any confrontations that might occur with locals. On 15 October 2010, for instance, Chinese supervisors Xiao Lishan and Wu Jiuhua—allegedly acting in self-defense—shot 13 Zambian miners out of a larger group protesting wage conditions at Collum Coal Mine, a major coal supplier for Zambia’s copper and cobalt sector. While Zambian prosecutors dropped the case in 2011, it generated outrage among locals, who resent the leverage Chinese companies obtain from investing over $1 billion a year and building most new infrastructure.
Individual PRC nationals working as traders and businessmen in volatile areas often work unregistered and will likely be invisible to Beijing until a high-profile attack or systemic anti-Chinese violence erupts. Once this happens, nationalist pressures to intervene and protect will kick in and the Chinese government will be placed in a reactive position. Beijing looks to be in for an interesting time as more PRC citizens and China-based companies venture into Iraq and Afghanistan in search of economic opportunity.
Andrew Erickson is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and a research associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center. Co-founder of China SignPost (洞察中国), he blogs at Andrew S. Erickson*|*China analysis from original sources. Gabe Collins is a co-founder of China SignPost and is a J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School.
The bolded part is just alluded to in the article without any further explanation other than to say Chinese do not mix with the locals socially. None of the other articles posted here make that point.China’s more than 847,000 citizens overseas, with their more than 13,000 enterprises and more than $1 trillion in assets, Beijing’s foreign policy is becoming increasingly unpopular in the same restive areas in Africa and the Middle East where Chinese businesspeople are chasing fortunes
Puts a different spin on the motives of the kidnappers. That it is more than just ransom.
Last edited by Double Edge; 10 Feb 12, at 21:02.
Kidnapped 14-year-old Filipino-American is free - CNN.comKidnapped 14-year-old Filipino-American is free
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