Perhaps the most visible sign of the explosion of private wealth in China tries hard not to be visible at all - the private bodyguard.
They work as drivers or nannies, or blend into a businessman's coterie looking like a secretary, a briefcase carrier or a toady. Unlike bodyguards in the US, they are generally not tall and imposing; in fact, many are women, on the theory that females in the retinue attract less attention. And also unlike in the US, they are never armed, since private citizens in China are largely prohibited from owning firearms. Rather, Chinese bodyguards are martial arts experts, trained to disarm or subdue an attacker with a few quick thrusts and hand chops.
"In China, we don't need people who know guns," said Michael Zhai, president of Beijing VSS Security Consulting. "Bodyguards can use one or two blows to stop an attacker." When Zhai started his company eight years ago, aiming to serve a high-end, wealthy clientele, he recalls there were few if any competitors in the game. By the end of last year, the private security business had grown into a $1.2 billion industry with about 2,767 companies employing more than two million security guards.
The burgeoning personal protection industry is a reflection of the dramatic growth in prosperity here that has created a new class of wealthy Chinese - but that has also exacerbated the already-wide chasm between the haves and have-nots. Some experts say the booming of the security industry reflects the rich people's worry about the safety of their families and themselves.
Private bodyguards now do everything from protecting wealthy celebrities and businessmen to assisting in security for such major events as the Shanghai World Expo. That rapid growth has prompted the Chinese government to start trying to rein in the industry. Up to now, the private security firms have operated in a legal "gray area," with no guidelines, regulations or standards - and with long-established security consultants such as Zhai fretting that many are fly-by-night outfits that could tarnish the entire industry.
2010-09-25 16:37 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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