Hong Kong, November 11 (ANI): Amid growing negative public perception about Chinese investments and attacks on Chinese nationals, as well as, on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, safety and security has become the top agenda of Beijing.
China is mulling the idea of deploying security firms to protect overseas Chinese nationals and BRI projects, reported The HK Post.
Xi Jinping gave a broad hint towards this during the just concluded 20th National Congress of the CCP.
Involving billions of US dollars worth of investments, BRI projects are facing threats of sabotage from terrorists and disgruntled elements in several countries, reported The HK Post.
"We will strengthen our capacity to ensure overseas security and protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and legal entities overseas," the Chinese President said during the 20th National Congress.
The statement clearly spells out China's desire to strengthen the security around BRI projects and people involved with them in Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Libya in view of increasing attacks on them by terrorists and disgruntled forces, reported The HK Post.
Though no official statement has been issued on how security around BRI projects spread in different corners of the world will be beefed up, the report maintains that private security firms will play a much more significant role in "protecting assets related to China's ambitious BRI."
In China, as many as 5000 security firms, employing more than 4 million personnel are registered with the government, reported The HK Post.
According to the research institute, about 20 security firms are licensed to operate overseas. Since the deployment of PLA soldiers or serving police personnel in foreign countries are fraught with diplomatic rows, private security firms are "well-positioned tools" for China to project power abroad, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank said in its study in January this year.
On February 14, as per Myanmar's The Irrawaddy, a news outlet, a Chinese oil and gas pipeline facility in central Myanmar was damaged in an attack by the People's Defence Force (PDF), civilian milia opposed to the military junta.
Moreover, the Chinese government's support for the military coup in Myanmar, prioritizing its own strategic interests over the well-being of the people of the Southeast Asian country, has made Beijing highly unpopular among people, reported The HK Post.
In March 2021, 32 Chinese-run factories were set on fire in an industrial suburb of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. Under the ambitious BRI, Beijing is establishing the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor in the Southeast Asian country.
Similarly, Pakistan's 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is meeting with one after other hurdles in the smooth execution of projects due to attacks from terrorists and insurgents.
Since 2016, when Beijing officially launched the CPEC, insurgent groups have carried out as many as 10 attacks on Chinese interests in Pakistan till September 2022, reported The HK Post.
In Nigeria, Chinese nationals and their business interests are coming under increasing attacks from terrorist outfit Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
Many security personnel were killed and some workers, including four Chinese nationals, were abducted when armed militants attacked a mining site at AjataAboki village in Nigeria's Shiroro area in June this year, reported The HK Post.
Alarmed by the rise in incidents of kidnappings of Chinese nationals, authorities in Beijing issued a travel advisory warning their citizens and companies against travel to high-risk areas in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. (ANI)