Archive for category China

Funny Stuff: Chinese Army Hand Grenade Fail!

Probably the funniest and coolest part about this video is the instructor. He saves the soldier by pulling him into the trench, and then the soldier leaves after the explosion and the instructor goes right back to the ready line and squares it away. lol Now that is a dedicated instructor. –Matt


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Books: Homer Lea–American Soldier Of Fortune

Fascinating. This book popped up on my radar screen recently and it is another book that might be of interest to the readership here. I have yet to pick up a copy but it looks super interesting.

Basically Homer Lea was a guy that leveraged his knowledge of military history and Asia to carve out quite a career. He was also an author that wrote some very prophetic books about the coming world events and wars of that time. The crazy thing is that he never served in the military because he was too ill.

But what he lacked physically, he certainly made up for mentally. He is like a Stephen Hawking of military strategy and history–combining it all in his drive to be a player in China and shape world events. (all with the blessing of the US) Homer also combined it all to write some incredible books, which some were turned into movies back then. That says much about his influence and impact.

Probably the one little tidbit about Homer that really intrigued me was that he was very fond of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. The first English translation of this book was in 1905, and I imagine Homer was able to draw much from this book and express these ideas in his thoughts about current events back then. He was also probably one of the few westerners of the time that was actually heavily influenced by this book, as well as the Civil War and other wars in Europe.

The author of the book also has a research center dedicated to Homer Lea. It is worth your time checking out, and it will give you a good picture about this incredible individual. Homer would have been a really cool blogger to read if he was alive during these

Anyways, check it out and enjoy. I will keep it in the Jundi Gear locker if you ever want to come back to it and find it. If anyone has read this book, I would love to hear your input about it. –Matt



Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune
By Lawrence M. Kaplan
As a five-feet-three-inch hunchback who weighed about 100 pounds, Homer Lea (1876–1912), was an unlikely candidate for life on the battlefield, yet he became a world-renowned military hero. In the Dragon’s Lair: The Exploits of Homer Lea paints a revealing portrait of a diminutive yet determined man who never earned his valor on the field of battle, but left an indelible mark on his times.
Lawrence M. Kaplan draws from extensive research to illuminate the life of a “man of mystery,” while also yielding a clearer understanding of the early twentieth-century Chinese underground reform and revolutionary movements. Lea’s career began in the inner circles of a powerful Chinese movement in San Francisco that led him to a generalship during the Boxer Rebellion. Fixated with commanding his own Chinese army, Lea’s inflated aspirations were almost always dashed by reality. Although he never achieved the leadership role for which he strived, he became a trusted advisor to revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen during the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Manchu Dynasty.

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China: Enter The ‘Private Security’ Dragon

During the recent Sudan hostage crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Sudanese troops who engaged in the rescue effort were joined by a dozen armed Chinese private security contractors. While that article and coverage of the issue in the Chinese media didn’t identify where the contractors came from, there’s a strong likelihood they were drawn from the same pool of former security forces personnel that Shandong Huawei recruits from and perhaps even came from the company. Chinese sources say it was the Sudanese military that told news outlets armed Chinese contractors were participating, so it appears that Beijing wants to keep its use of private security contractors out of the public eye.

Lately I have noticed an upward trend in reporting about China and it’s private security. These three articles below help to paint that picture of what I am talking about. We have a situation where China has interests all over the world, their people are getting killed and kidnapped all over the world in higher numbers, and security situations are changing for the worse in some of these places they have set up shop in.

Not only that, but now Chinese businesses are demanding more protection and they have the money to buy it. Especially if Chinese PSC’s charge less than western companies.

This first article below talks about the company Shandong Huawei Security Group. I have never heard of them before, and I could not find a link to their website. Although I doubt I would put a link up to their site for fear of getting some virus or whatever. lol Either way, Shandong Huawei is supposed to be one of their top PSC’s.

The article also described an interesting situation going on in Iraq. As the security situation degrades and there is now a lack of western forces to keep things in check, companies like Shandong Huawei are stepping in to fill that security vacuum in order to protect companies like the China National Petroleum Corporation. Oil is of national interest to China, as it is to many countries, and PSC’s are a part of their strategy to protect those national interests.

In the quote up top it mentioned Sudan and the involvement of security contractors in the rescue of kidnapped Chinese workers. There is oil in the Sudan and China definitely has interest there. And if PSC’s are actively involved in rescue operations like this, then it is not far fetched to imagine PSC’s entering other areas of security which would border more military-like operations. Will we see a company like Shandong Huawei evolve into more of a private military company?

The other thing mentioned in this article is the strategic implications of Chinese PSC’s. Here is the quote:

There are a number of strategic implications of this rise of armed private security providers by Chinese firms. For a start, if a project is in an area unstable enough to require armed private guards, there’s a significant probability of armed encounters between security providers and potentially hostile locals. Coupled with this is the fact that given their police and military backgrounds, the contractors are likely to look and comport themselves like soldiers, and would probably be armed with similar types of weapons. There’s real potential, then, for confusion on the ground in a place like Sudan when a private contractor who looks like a soldier engages rebels or others who then mistake him for an actual member of Chinese government forces. A local whose relative was shot near a Chinese drilling site by a security guard who looks like a soldier is likely to blame Beijing, which could spark additional violence against Chinese interests in the area.

Yep. And if the local insurgency/gang/criminal elements are not getting their cut, then expect these groups to attack these Chinese ventures.

The second article below is very interesting to me because it is written by Chinese journalists and actually discusses the lack of experience that Chinese PSC’s have compared to American PSC’s. That they should ‘study’ American PSC’s….or steal trade secrets about such things. lol Either way, I thought this was cool that the Chinese have recognized the west’s expertise in this area. Check it out.

Calls for security guards from China to accompany workers posted in dangerous areas overseas have increased since kidnappings in Sudan and Egypt underscored the danger workers face as Chinese companies expand globally.
The abductions highlight the urgency to ensure the security of Chinese workers overseas, said Han Fangming, deputy director of the foreign affairs committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, on his micro blog.
Han said that there is a need to study how private security contractors in the United States, such as Academi, work and “when the time is right, the government might allow qualified companies” to establish such services…. Another factor to consider is how prepared the security services are to handle dangerous situations.
“I think security guards in China are far from the level of private security contractors like Academi in the US,” Fu said.

Yep. Private security contractors in the US, and our western partners, have all learned many hard lessons over ten years of warfare. If China plans on allowing PSC’s to do this kind of thing in war zones, then yes, they will be looking to all and any lessons learned in order to make that work. It is also a matter of Mimicry Strategy, and whatever works best, will be copied.

The final article discusses the enormity of the Chinese presence throughout the world. It also emphasizes the threat to these citizens and the upward trend of kidnappings. More kidnappings equals more ransoms. More ransoms paid equates to a creation of a kidnapping industry where individuals purposely target Chinese. That is the price China will pay if they plan on setting up shop in these dangerous parts of the world.

The dramatic rise in overseas travel and expatriate work by Chinese was punctuated by the recent kidnappings of Chinese workers in Sudan and Egypt. “Overseas Chinese protection” (haiwai gongmin baohu) has been a critical priority since deadly attacks killed 14 Chinese workers in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2004. Between 2006 and 2010, 6,000 Chinese citizens were evacuated to China from upheavals in the Solomon Islands, East Timor, Lebanon, Tonga, Chad, Thailand, Haiti and Kyrgyzstan.
But a new urgency has arisen in the past year: in 2011, China evacuated 48,000 citizens from Egypt, Libya, and Japan; 13 Chinese merchant sailors were murdered on the Mekong River in northern Thailand in October 2011; and in late January 2012, some 50 Chinese workers were kidnapped in two incidents by Sudanese rebels in South Kordofan province and by Bedouin tribesmen in the north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The worldwide presence of Chinese citizens – and the dependencies that generates – will only continue to grow: in 2012, more than 60 million Chinese people will travel abroad, a figure up sixfold from 2000, and likely to reach 100 million in 2020. More than five million Chinese nationals work abroad, a figure sure to increase significantly in the years ahead.

That is a lot of Chinese traveling and working throughout the world! As the word gets out amongst the thugs/terrorists/rebels of the world, we will continue to see this Chinese kidnap and ransom trend increase. That means more protection work, and more hostage rescue or negotiation work for this young Chinese PSC market. So yes, I would speculate that we are witnessing the rise of the Private Security Dragon and who knows where this will lead. –Matt

Enter China’s Security Firms
February 21, 2012
By Andrew Erickson & Gabe Collins
Chinese private security companies are seeing an opportunity as the U.S. withdraws troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. But plenty of complications await them.
A security vacuum is developing around Chinese workers overseas. The recent kidnapping of 29 Chinese workers in Sudan (where another worker was shot dead during the abduction) and 25 workers in Egypt has sparked a strong reaction in China. As a result, Beijing is looking to bolster consular services and protection for Chinese citizens working and travelling overseas. On the corporate side, private analysts are urging companies to do a better job of training employees before they are sent abroad. Yet with at least 847,000 Chinese citizen workers and 16,000 companies scattered around the globe, some of them in active conflict zones such as Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, key projects and their workers are likely to require more than just an expanded consular staff to keep them safe.
It’s with an eye on this growing danger that new Chinese private security providers see a business opportunity. Shandong Huawei Security Group appears to be a leader among Chinese security providers, which thus far have predominantly focused on the country’s robust internal market for bodyguard and protective services. Huawei provides internal services, but in October 2010, opened an “Overseas Service Center” in Beijing. The company’s statement on the center’s opening explicitly cites the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and the potential for a security vacuum to result, as key drivers of its decision to target the Iraq market.

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Executive Protection: China’s New Status Symbol–A Bodyguard

This is really not news if we remember my prior posts about the rise of private security in China. But what I like about stories like this is that they identify the up and coming players in the PSC market there. Or a PSC that could easily transition into more of a PMC role for ventures in places like Africa.

Yun Hai Elite Security was mentioned in this article and they have done some big name work for celebrities visiting China. They also give their guys a ton of training and they seem to attract some high end soldiers and police. These are the companies I like to watch, just because it is not that big of a step for them to cross into the realm of doing what they do in other countries and regions. China also allows these companies to exist for a reason, and these companies are really not private per se.

The other thing I have been watching lately is China’s intense focus on Africa. Businessmen from China are canvassing that continent and doing all they can to establish roots. With the amount of projects and money they bring, there is also the security required to bring peace and stability to those endeavors. That security will either come from Chinese security companies, local police or military they have agreements with, or regional private security companies–or folks that specialize in providing security on the African continent.

In other words, I expect that the Chinese will be really hitting up South African companies and individuals for all types of work. Either protecting projects or making security assessments. I could also see the Chinese contracting with companies to help professionalize the local police and military that the Chinese would make agreements with, or to help advise Chinese security companies. The Chinese are not at all afraid to set up shop in the crappiest places of Africa to get what they need. In order to make that a success, they need the right people that know how to solve problems there.

What I am interested in though is what will the Chinese do in some of these places when the local rebels or whatever group, begin to attack and give problems to these projects. Would they contract a PMC to take care of problems? Would they soup up a local military with weapons and training to go on the offensive? How far will the Chinese go in to order to restore commerce and protect their business ventures in Africa?  Who knows and it will be something to watch as these new ‘East India Companies‘ of the modern era do their thing. –Matt

Edit: 07/05/15– I found a great video by Vice about female bodyguards in China that I had to share here on this post. It also has extensive footage of Yun Hai Elite Security and how they train folks. Check it out.



China’s new status symbol: a bodyguard
Hannah Gardner
Jan 8, 2012
In a badly lit housing complex on the edge of Beijing, one building burns bright late into the night.
This hall, once a community centre for workers at Beijing’s airport, is now home to Yun Hai Elite Security – one of hundreds of companies that have sprung up across China in recent years to provide bodyguards for the country’s newly minted rich.
Here until 10 every evening, six days a week, former soldiers and athletes learn the skills required to protect people who are increasing resented in this nominally communist county.
“I don’t lack clients,” says Xin Yang, one of Yun Hai’s founders and a former member of the special services in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
“I have a waiting list for my bodyguards. Our trainees have a 100 per cent employment rate.”
Just over a decade ago there was little call for a business like Mr Xin’s. Politicians were more respected, international stars rarely visited and the county didn’t have a single billionaire.
Now, China is home to at least 243 individuals with assets worth more than US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) and last year the socialist state produced its millionth millionaire.

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History: The 1854 Tong War, California

This is some fascinating US history that does not get much mention. I had heard about the Tong War in Weaverville when I was fighting forest fires there way back when. But I did not know about the details of this little known war.

Basically this was a classic Chinese battle between two mining companies/gangs in Northern California during the Gold Rush. And boy what a battle? Ironically, only four combatants died in the battle that had 2,500 participants! (the monument says 2000 participated and 26 were killed?)

The one bit of information that really perked me up after reading this article below was the the use of ‘white’ advisers. Here is the quote:

The Sam Yap Company, Hanley wrote, had purchased 150 muskets and bayonets and muskets in San Francisco.  They had employed fifteen whites as drill instructors.  The instructors were paid ten dollars daily along with all the food and whiskey they could handle.(What cost $10 in 1854 would cost $239.63 in 2010.)
Before the battle the fifteen white mercenaries painted themselves yellow, put on Chinese costumes, and hung a yard of horsehair tail down their backs in a mocking depiction of a Chinese queue.

I would be very interested to know who these fifteen advisers were?  At that time period, security contractors were vital to supporting all of the mail and banking activities that came along with the gold rush. The west was a rough place to operate in back then, and hired guns were essential for protecting shipments of gold heading back east or between the various towns of the west. Wells Fargo, American Express, Pinkertons, Butterfield Overland Mail, all started up around this time period. I am sure the Sam Yap Company was able to draw from this pool of security contractors that serviced this industry, to train their forces for this battle.

China was also in the process of modernizing it’s own military and drawing from the military expertise of Europe. So it does not surprise me that these companies would outsource the training of their combatants to insure a win. Which this little tidbit is also pretty cool. Here was the cost of the battle for each side:

After a hundred shots had been fired, the woefully underarmed Yan Wo beat a hasty retreat.  Thousands had watched and dueled, but the casualties were light.  Sources indicate a death toll of four.
The cost figures were much higher.  The Sam Yap Company had expended $40,000 in pursuit of victory, while the Yan Wo Company had spent $20,000 in defeat.

Either way, if you are ever in Northern California and looking for something interesting to do, go visit Weaverville and check out the Joss House. This place has a few of the original weapons that these combatants used. It would have been cool if more of the tactical details of this battle were available, but there really isn’t much out there about it.

I would speculate that if you were to draw from Chinese war fighting tactics of the early 1800’s, that we probably could have drawn some conclusions on how they might have went about fighting this war. But of course these guys were all miners/prospectors and if they had to resort to hiring advisers, and only 4 people died in the battle out of the 2500 that participated, then I have to imagine that it wasn’t that well planned or organized. So no Sun Tzu at this party. lol

Also, I am getting different dates for this war, and have decided to go with what the monument and the Joss House said about the date. So disregard the time period below. –Matt



CHINESE TONG WAR – Near Chinese Camp, October 1856
The historic Gold Country was a violent land — claim jumping, murder, theft, cheating at cards, and much more was quite common.
In October 1856, a different type of violence occurred near Chinese Camp.  It was a Chinese Tong War.
A Tong is defined as a Chinese secret society or fraternal organization.  While many Tongs were mostly social, some organizations engaged in gang warfare or ethnic revenge.
The Tongs were often rivals for control in the Chinese communities and public challenges toward one another were not unusual.  Along the Mother Lode in late Gold Rush California two Tongs were rivals for hegemony.  They were the Tuolomne County Sam Yap Company and the Calaveras County Yan Wo Company, headquartered near Chinese Camp.

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Weapons: Chinese Weapons In Al Shabab Hands– The QLZ 87 35mm Automatic Grenade Launcher

In general, the price of Chinese weapons is still about one-third lower than comparable Russian weapons. More importantly, what China wants from Africa is resources, especially crude oil, and it has already exported substantial numbers of weapons in exchange for oil. In dealing with oil-producing countries China has an advantage over Russia, which as a major world oil producer has no need to trade weapons for oil.

This is a quick heads up. I was watching a video the other day on the latest news about Al Shabab in Somalia and a particular weapon of theirs caught my eye in the footage.(.16 in the footage) This thing is a Chinese made 35 mm automatic grenade launcher called the QLZ 87 or Type 87.

My question is who is providing Al Shabab with Chinese made automatic grenade launchers?  Or perhaps they captured this weapon in one of their raids? Or with their connections with Al Qaeda, and the chaos going on throughout the middle east, AQ is able to funnel these types of weapons to them?  Who knows…? The other weapons in the video were interesting as well, and if anyone can identify those weapons, please say so in the comments. Especially the rocket launchers. I would also be curious if those are Chinese versions of Russian equipment, or in fact they are Russian weapons.

Now imagine a QLZ 87 in the hands of a pirate? A launcher equipped with a 6 or 15 round drum, slinging 35mm grenades that have a better blast radius than our 40mm, and at a distance of between 600 to 1750 meters.

And if ‘the price of Chinese weapons is still about one-third lower than comparable Russian weapons’ on the African market, then logic would say we will see stuff like this out there. Especially if the quality has increased and the Chinese have made this stuff available. (that’s what the article below mentioned) Interesting stuff. –Matt

Edit: 09/02/2011- I believe the launchers in the video are Carl Gustav 84 mm Recoilless rifles.


The QLZ 87 in Al Shabab video, August 31 2011.

QLZ87 35mm Automatic Grenade Launcher

The QLZ87 (also known as Type 87) is the 35mm automatic grenade launcher developed by NORINCO in the late 1980s. Designed to provide direct fire support for infantry troops, the Type 87 is the first grenade launcher that has entered service with the PLA as a standard weapon equipment. The weapon was described as “mini infantry artillery” and has been serving with the PLA infantry (including airborne forces and the Marine Corps) at platoon and company level since the mid-1990s.
The PLA began to study the use of grenade launcher in its infantry units in the 1970s. Reverse-engineering of the U.S. M-79 40mm grenade launcher and the Soviet AGS-17 35mm automatic grenade launcher was carried out in the late 1970s, but these weapons did not enter service. In the mid-1980s, NORINCO introduced the W87 35mm automatic grenade launcher for export market, and the weapon was widely seen as an indication of success in the Chinese indigenous grenade launcher programme. By the late 1980s, NORINCO introduced new improved version of the W87 for the use of the PLA. The weapon entered service with the PLA in the mid-1990s under the designation QLZ87.
The QLZ87 is available in two variants: the standard variant and the tripod-mounted heavy variant. The standard variant with a combat weight of 12kg can be carried and fired by a single soldier and is mainly for the engaging targets within 600m distance. The heavy variant with a combat weight of 20kg is carried by a crew of three and has a longer range (>1,750m). The weapon delivers 25kg HE or HEAT grenades in either single or burst mode, with a sustained rate of fire of 45rds/min.
Compared to the U.S. MK19-3 40mm automatic grenade launcher, the QLZ87 is inferior in range,  muzzle velocity, and rate of fire. However, the Chinese 35mm grenade, though lighter than the MK19-3’s 40mm grenade, has better performance in blasting radius (MK19-3: 7m; Type 87: 11m) and armour penetration (MK19-3: 51mm; Type 87: 80mm). Unlike the MK19-3, which can only be fired on tripod, the Type 87 can be carried and fired by a single soldier.
The QLZ87 is a man portable, gas-operated, air-cooled, fully automatic weapon. It fires 35mm HE and HEAT grenades in either single or burst mode. The grenades are fed to the weapon using 6-round (standard variant) or 15-round (heavy variant) cartridge drum. The weapon is equipped with an optical aiming sight. The standard and heavy variants are almost identical in basic designs. The standard variant has a fold-able bipod for shooting, while the heavy variant is mounted on a tripod. If necessary, the weapon can also be mounted on vehicles or helicopters. As well as engaging ground targets, the weapon is claimed to be also capable of attacking low-flying airborne targets.
Calibre: 35mm

Muzzle velocity: 200m/s

Firing mode: Single, burst

Max range: (standard) 600m; (heavy) 1,750m

Weight: (standard, with scope) 12kg; (heavy, with scope) 20kg

Elevation: (heavy, mounted on tripod) -10~70 degrees

Traverse: 360 degrees

Rate of fire: (sustained) 45 rds/min

Grenade weight: 250g

Ammunition: HE, HEAT
Link to weapon description here.
Russian, Chinese weapons compete in Africa
By Andrei Chang
December 19, 2008
Hong Kong, China — China is increasingly challenging Russia in the African arms trade, offering lower prices on weapons that, ironically, are often made in China with Russian technologies. Chinese products are less expensive than Russian and Western systems, similar to the Russian systems that many African countries are familiar with, easy to maintain and easy to use in training.
Many countries are therefore switching allegiance to China for their weapons purchases. A typical example is Sudan. At a 2007 military parade, the Khartoum regime showcased its China-made T96 main battle tanks and T92 wheeled armoured vehicles.

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