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Title: Analysing the operational patterns of Chinese private security companies' operations in East Africa
Author: Chen, Qiong
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 6139
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This research intends to identify the underlying causes of Chinese private and security Companies (PSCs)’ different performances in providing security services to different Chinese state-owned construction enterprises in East Africa. For this purpose, this research investigates the following questions: (1) What the operational patterns of Chinese PSCs engaging in security provision to Chinese construction companies in East Africa are? (2) What are the influential factors and the mechanisms in which these factors shape the Chinese PSCs’ operational patterns in East Africa? (3) How the actual project under consideration influences the nature of the operation of the Chinese PSCs? (4) To what extent the Chinese government’s foreign economic policies influence Chinese PSCs’ operations overseas? To this end, this research has adopted the qualitative research method, in particular case studies, to examine Chinese PSCs’ involvement in the security provision to the transportation infrastructure construction projects in East African countries of Kenya and Madagascar, respectively. The research data of this thesis was collected through a series of semi-structured interviews that were conducted with the Chinese security personnel who participated in the relevant security projects, as well as with security professionals from the Chinese security industry. This research has identified two different operational patterns of the security projects under scrutiny: one, a pyramid shaped hierarchical mode, the other a parallel mode. By employing French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory as an analytical framework, this research has identified four capitals that the different security actors possessed. These are, economic capital, cultural capital, social capital and symbolic capital, and these capitals have practical effects on shaping Chinese PSCs’ operations within different security projects. This research observed that, the security project of the Kenya railway construction, which entailed great political and economic significance to the Chinese government, is a pyramid-shaped hierarchical mode, which is more complex and involved multiple security forces. In which, by possessing a higher degree of economic, cultural and symbolic capital, the Chinese PSC was able to situate itself in a prominent position and retained a supervisory role over the other security forces. Whereas in a smaller-scale general commercial security project, as in the case of Madagascar, the security operational pattern of the security project was a parallel mode, although the Chinese PSC retained a higher degree of economic, cultural and symbolic capital, but the Chinese PSC was not in a position to supervise other leading security forces involved. The Chinese PSC and the other leading security force operated independently, and there is no sub-ordinate relationship between them. This research also reveals that various factors have affected Chinese PSCs’ overseas operations and expansion in different respects, including the nature of the overseas projects, Chinese domestic administrative regulations regarding the security requirements for Chinese overseas investment, the developmental history of the Chinese industry itself, as well as Chinese foreign economic policies. By identifying different operational patterns of the Chinese PSCs’ operations in East Africa and figure out the key factors that affect their operations, and their overseas expansion, this research has contributed to filling a particular gap in the research of the Chinese PSCs’ operations and expansion overseas. Nevertheless, the findings of this research also highlight the need for future research to include cases representative of the Chinese private security companies’ operation in different regions abroad and different types of projects.
Supervisor: Kinsey, Christopher Paul ; Sun, Xin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available