China’s Private Security in Central Asia

The seizure of Chinese-run mines in Kyrgyzstan amid ongoing protests has highlighted the risks to business in the region, fuelling China’s desire to promote its private security companies (PSCs). So far, six PSCs are active in Central Asia, including the controversial Xinjiang-based Frontier Services Group, which is making inroads in Kazakhstan’s logistics market. Nevertheless, significant legal hurdles remain. As Chinese PSCs expand their operations, they continue to partner with local groups to gain further market access, as well as connections to officials in the interior ministry. But if Chinese PSCs continue to expand operations, Sinophobic sentiments—already widespread across the region—may spark a cycle of escalating securitization that will undermine China’s long-term interests.