Technology-era bodyguards for China’s rich

Technology-era bodyguards for China's rich 2
Technology-era bodyguards for China's rich 2

Genghis Khan Security Academy is China’s only bodyguard training school, headquartered in Tianjin, a city about 130 km west of Beijing.

Dressed in black suits, from dawn to midnight, students here learn to master digital defense systems tied to traditional bodyguard skills such as martial arts, weapon handling and driving.

Instructor (far right) instructs students on how to draw a gun on September 8.

Each year the school has about 1,000 graduates, with the hope of being hired as bodyguards for the growing number of rich and famous people in China, with income that can reach up to 70,000 USD, many times the salary.

However, the school says it still cannot meet demand as China’s breakneck growth rate creates about 4.4 million millionaires each year, according to a 2019 report by Credit Suisse, more than the United States.

Tuition for each course is 3,000 USD per person.

Only the best can study, said Chen Yongqing, the school’s founder.

`I’m a hot-tempered person and very demanding,` said the former military officer who was stationed in the Inner Mongolia region of northern China.

Chen said about half of the students are veterans.

Other classes are held in classrooms or gyms, with students wearing red T-shirts to practice.

`We set the standard for the Chinese bodyguard profession,` said Ji Pengfei, an instructor at the school.

In one class, students work in pairs, pretending to defend a client from an attacker.

Technology-era bodyguards for China's rich

Instructor (black shirt), instructing students (red shirt) in close combat martial arts techniques on September 8.

Those who cannot perform the client protection skill in two seconds will have to do 50 push-ups.

But in a country where every corner is always closely monitored by security cameras and street crime rates are low, the modern bodyguard model requires updating another skill, which is to resist other forms of surveillance.

`The Chinese boss doesn’t need you to fight,` Chen told students about his clients, which include some of China’s biggest real estate and technology companies.

Repeling mobile phone intrusions, network security, eavesdropping detection and data wiping are essential tools in the arsenal of school students.

`What would you do if the boss wanted to destroy a video file immediately?`

Yet old-fashioned threats still exist in China.

According to Chinese media, his son escaped by jumping into the river, then called the police.

Zhu Peipei, 33, a discharged soldier from Shanxi province, hopes that becoming a bodyguard will make up for his lack of professional skills and education.

`Of course being a bodyguard is also very cool,` Zhu said.

Bodyguards who graduated from the academy also do other services such as taking rich and famous children to school, with an income of 26,000 USD a year.

Technology-era bodyguards for China's rich

A bodyguard practices the situation of putting the boss in the car during a training session on September 8.

Coaches say they also have to learn about their clients’ odd habits or beliefs.

Some customers only trust bodyguards who are the same age as them, while another wealthy businessman only wants to recruit compatriots.

The best can command salaries of up to $74,0000 a year in China, but some want to go abroad in the hope of working for foreign clients.

`I want to work in the Philippines or Myanmar,` said one practitioner.

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