and Xue Gong
’s Securing the Belt and Road: Risk Assessment, Private Security and Special Insurances Along the New Wave of Chinese Outbound Investments
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) significantly contributes to an understanding not only of China’s ambitious infrastructure and energy driven Belt and Road Initiative, but also the increasing challenges it poses for China itself. The multiple security issues the initiative poses, including political instability, religious and ethnic tensions, fragile legal environments, criminality, environmental degradation and social strains, has sparked the rise of a Chinese private security industry with what the authors call Chinese characteristics. Populated primarily by former People’s Liberation Army and police officers, the industry is on a steep learning curve that makes it dependent on Western and Russian expertise. It also has to come to grips with the fact that China’s mushrooming overseas investment threatens to drag the People’s Republic into international crises. Arduino and Gong and their contributors to this edited volume lay out a compelling argument for the need to not only physically secure Chinese personnel and assets but also develop guidelines for risk assessment, special insurance vehicles and crisis management in a world in which state-owned enterprises lack adequate security or an understanding for the utility of corporate social responsibility. In doing so, their edited volume constitutes a major addition to the understanding of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that de facto creates a building block of an as yet undefined new world order.
James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.