China needs better security intelligence for overseas projects

By Cheng Xizhong Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/6 22:56:34

China needs better security for overseas projects

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

In recent years, cases of raids, kidnappings and hijackings have sometimes affected the overseas operations of Chinese enterprises and Chinese people working abroad, causing serious losses and even casualties. The need for more developed overseas security for Chinese firms and employees has become a more and more significant issue.

Based on years of living and working abroad, I believe reliable overseas security planning is the only way to effectively deal with terrorist attacks or criminal activities to ensure the safety of Chinese enterprises and personnel.

Only by mastering accurate security information and scientifically carrying out project risk assessments can we formulate the necessary safety precautions and contingency plans.

Therefore, the management of overseas Chinese-funded enterprises should attach great importance to tracking and controlling the security situation and trends in the project location and resident countries or regions around the world.

Enterprises' security departments should have full-time staff at project sites responsible for collecting and judging intelligence. This work can also be conducted by hired professional staff sent by qualified domestic security service companies.

After a number of overseas security problems for Chinese firms, both State-owned and private enterprises have started to pay more and more attention to the security aspect of overseas projects, which has increased the demand for professional companies offering security services.

But as demand has increased, the security service companies are being presented with challenges as well as opportunities. We should give full play to the decisive role of the market in allocating resources by allowing properly professional companies to rise to the top.

At present, although there are more than 7,000 registered security enterprises and more than 5 million security practitioners in China, security service companies covering intelligence and security management are lacking in the ability to collect and investigate overseas intelligence. Therefore, we should vigorously develop overseas security intelligence services. This will also help to safeguard companies and projects that are involved in the Belt and Road initiative.

When it comes to intelligence, people always find it particularly mysterious and sensitive. Actually, it is not. Certain developed countries in the West have always attached importance to collecting and analyzing intelligence through open channels. There is a saying that most of the intelligence in the US is obtained through open sources. Much of this information comes from newspapers, radio, television and other forms of media, and since the 9/11 attacks the US has significantly strengthened its intelligence gathering through public networks.

The overseas security intelligence market is highly developed. Some Western security intelligence companies have specialized operations collecting security intelligence around the world 24 hours a day in order to provide services to enterprises internationally.

Terrorism and criminal activities are the common enemy of the international community. All countries around the world should work together to effectively crack down on this problem. Thus, security companies providing services for the overseas operations of Chinese enterprises can also strengthen their cooperation with reputable and capable foreign security companies in obtaining and judging security intelligence.

The author is a senior researcher with the Charhar Institute, an adviser to the Overseas Security Service Specialized Committee of the Beijing Security Association, and an executive advisor with China Shield Consulting Service Co.

Newspaper headline: China needs better security for overseas projects

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