The Indicators of Social Unrest in China: the Thriving of the Bodyguard Industry

By Wei Jingsheng
Wei Jingsheng Foundation


“When the upper social class in China treats the common Chinese people as lambs to be slaughtered, they are making themselves lambs waiting for slaughter.”


As the New Year 2014 is arriving, everyone is predicting the prospects for
next year.  I noticed a message that a lot of people may have overlooked:
the sudden emergence of the bodyguard industry in China.  According to a
report by the Chinese media “the Economic Observer,” China now has more
than 4,000 security companies with more than 4.3 million bodyguards.
Please note that according to the domestic concept in China, this report
is referring to bodyguard security companies instead of more ordinary
security companies.  In 2010, China began implementing the “Security
Service Management Regulations” which officially recognized the legitimacy
of the bodyguards.  In the three years since then, the bodyguard industry
mushroomed quickly like bamboo shoots growing up.

Why is there such a rapid development?  According to the heads of these
security companies, initially it was social celebrities requesting
bodyguards, but later it extended throughout the whole affluent class in
China.  So their business is very active, with some of the companies’
annual revenue reaching to the hundreds of millions, and considering
selling their stock on the exchange.  This is pretty remarkable to make a
Guinness World Record .

Bodyguarding is a normal industry.  Like the Chinese saying, “there are
all sorts of birds in the woods”, there are all sorts of people in the
society.  Celebrities and the wealthy are the most likely targets for
kidnapping and robbery. so there will be a bodyguard industry.  There are
bodyguards in the United States also.  Even the governments hire
bodyguards.  Their quality is usually high.  The foreign dignitaries
coming to New York for conferences received professional protection from
government-hired bodyguards.  I received their protection when I just
arrived the USA.  From that I learned that their professional qualities
are not as simple as what is depicted in the martial arts films.  It is
indeed a very professional and very important industry .

But although the United States is much wealthier than China, with even a
lot more celebrities, why is its bodyguard industry not as exaggerated and
noticeable as in China, with millions employed and hundreds of millions in
profits?  We may analyze it from the following aspects.

First, the American social distribution is relatively even.  After World
War II, Western countries have implemented various degrees of social
welfare measures and income fairness.  Their middle classes developed and
expanded, while maintaining proper wealth distribution.  In these
societies, there is not the severe psychological hatred against the rich,
nor are there as many robberies and kidnappings as in China now.  That is,
when the social crisis is eased and extreme moods are relaxed there is no
need for a large number of bodyguards.

Second, the legal community in the West guarantees the dealing of social
disputes with fairness and equality.  It is impossible for any society not
to have all kinds of disputes; the difference lies in the methods used to
handle them.  The ancients invented legal systems to resolve all kinds of
disputes through the same open and transparent standards, in order to
avoid the expansion of the disputes due to the law of the jungle and
unfairness.  The Chinese word for “fair” means this principle of “open”
and “equality” before the law.  “Fairness” means not to lean in one
direction, that there is no privilege before law.

The concept of fairness is a normal phenomenon in countries with the rule
of law, but in China it is to the contrary.  The Chinese government and
its ruling party openly and routinely violate these two principles, to the
degree that it is even stated in the constitution that the authority of
the government and the Communist Party is above the law.  In China’s
reality, the will of those in power is also greater than the law, the
rights of the privileged class is greater than the law, and those people
who enforce the law are free to interpret the law in anyway they want.
Law is no longer a public institution and has become a private tool.  The
principles of fairness and justice have disappeared.

Third, in an unfair society for the privileged, people still tend to seek
fairness and justice.  Especially in the Chinese society that has known
the rule of law for more than two thousand years, people are not
accustomed to extreme bondage and unfairness.  Using the words of Yang
Jia, a hero respected by the Chinese commoners, “If you do not give me
fairness, I shall give you fairness.”  This simple sentence speaks a
profound truth: that without fairness and justice, there is no law, there
is lawlessness; therefore, there is no legal basis that people must comply

A government that violates law while carrying out the law is the biggest
violator of law.  When the Chinese constitution places the authority of
the government above the law, it abolishes the authority of the
Constitution and the law itself.  How could a constitution, law and
government without authority manage a society?  In other words, the
Chinese government has withdrawn its own legitimacy, and must rely on
violence to maintain its law enforcement.  Is it possible for such a
society to have a stable legitimate government?

Such a government also has difficulty maintaining the safety of society.
When the government is unreasonable and does not follow the law, the
people will behave similarly, and could also be unreasonable and not
follow the law.  Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, had
a national policy called “people learn from the officials”.  If the
officials are lawless, how could you expect the people to follow the law?
This lawlessness and unreasonableness are widespread in Chinese society
now, with their roots in the constitution and laws that follow the one
party dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party.

Chinese people have a tradition of being law-abiding.  But after decades
of the Communist Party’s education through its own conduct, the law has
less and less authority.  One of the indicators illustrating that law has
less authority is that more and more people are using illegal means to
solve their issues of wealth and revenge, as the issues of fairness and
justice already cannot be resolved in accordance with the law.

When people try to solve their own problems rather than proceeding through
a fair and impartial judgment by the court, there will be more
unreasonable and miscarriages of justice for sure.  That is, when the top
bureaucrats and rich people in the society do not let other people have
fairness and justice, they themselves also lose their rights to fairness
and justice.  With the popularity of lawless thought, with the spread of a
psychology of hatred against the rich and bureaucrats in China, the
Chinese government needs to hire military police in the several millions
for protection, and these bureaucrats and wealthy individuals need to hire
bodyguards.  This is a normal phenomenon when the government itself tears
up the social contract.

People are not lambs, of either God or the government.  Between the people
and the government is a contractual relationship.  This contract is the
source of the Constitution and laws.  When the government violates the
contract, when the government does not carry out its responsibilities, the
people no longer are responsible to the government.  When the upper social
class in China treats the common Chinese people as lambs to be
slaughtered, they are making themselves lambs waiting for slaughter.  This
is why the bodyguard industry in China is thriving now.

The Chinese society is on the brink of collapse.  Especially for a Chinese
society that has a tradition of rebellion and revolution, it is the eve of
social unrest.

(Written and recorded on December 20, 2013.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)