Procurement: China Takes Care Of Its Customers


October 25, 2014: Since the 1990s China has become a major supplier of police equipment. Not just vehicles, weapons, uniforms and special gear for riot control, investigations, eavesdropping and crime scene scrutiny and analysis, but also equipment that is generally avoided, or even condemned in the West. This involves equipment used for “vigorous interrogation” (torture) and censoring the Internet or telephone use. The torture devices include various types of painful restraints and some items that require electrical power.

China also offers radio jamming equipment, to keep out broadcasts criticizing the local government. Chinese advisors will also work with foreign police, secret police and intelligence organizations to demonstrate how to use some of the more exotic Chinese gear.  The biggest customer is China itself, which currently spends over $125 billion on internal security and in some years that has exceeded the defense budget. This pays for salaries, benefits and construction, but there are billions left for the Chinese firms that supply weapons and specialized equipment to internal security organizations in China and abroad.

There are over 120 companies in China providing these goods and services. Chinese law prohibits the use of these torture devices inside China, but that law, like so many others, is often ignored. China will occasionally prosecute police for using these illegal devices, but these prosecutions are usually for some other misdeed the government would rather not make public or for abusing someone who was “protected” by a senior government official).

Because of all this China has proved a valuable ally for dictators. For this fringe market China also points out that it has a veto in the UN. This veto makes it difficult for the UN to impose sanctions on Chinese customers for all sorts of goods. China takes care of its customers.






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