The hiring of mercenaries in Argentina by the company China Overseas Security Group (COSG) used in the countries part of the Belt and Road project raises concern because Argentina is not linked to this massive project.

The company, which presents itself as a “private” security company, “awakened endless questions regarding the motives behind the hiring of paramilitary troops in the national territory,” according to the Argentine media Perfil of Nov. 20. 

It should be noted that the Chinese communist regime established a military space station in the province of Neuquén, Argentina, under the General Department of Armaments of the People’s Liberation Army, the armed military wing of the Chinese communist regime.

Likewise, “China’s current interest in building and possibly operating an Antarctic “logistics base” in Ushuaia, in the south of the country, raises concerns because it is very consistent with the logic and pattern of the PLA’s [Chinese regime’s military] advance in expanding its global strategic reach,” writes author Evan Ellis. 

Chinese private security companies, on the other hand, are run mainly by former members of the Communist Party of China (CCP) military and police and must be single-person state-owned, or at least 51 percent state-owned capital.

In this regard, the term “private security company” is “misleading and inaccurate in the Chinese context.” Moreover, the CCP requires all companies to obey its directives, hence the slogan: “as the state advances, the private sector retreats,” published in June by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. 

Within China, some 4.3 million former members of the CCP military and police work for the country’s 5,000 security companies, of which some 20 are allowed to hire abroad.  

Prominent among them is DeWe Security, founded in 2011 by former military and police members of the Chinese regime, which has 352 Chinese employees living abroad. They have hired around 3,000 local employees. 

Dealing with some Chinese companies carries risks “including a lack of transparency, weak national controls, undue influence on regime elites, and social tensions.”

In this context, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies believes that the numerous “Chinese security contracting comes with many of the same risks associated with some Chinese SOEs, including a lack of transparency, weak national controls, undue influence on regime elites, and social tensions.” 

Furthermore, “few doubt that the groups are solidly under the control of China’s national security bureaucracy,” according to Andrew Davenport, chief operating officer of RWR Advisory Group, a risk consultancy, who sees them as part of a “parallel security strategy.”

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