Securing a woman's world

Updated: 2013-11-17 09:45

By Xu Lin (China Daily)

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China's female security guard boot camps often require recruits to get bottles smashed over their heads, tackle knife-wielding assailants and be stomped facedown into water. They also learn evasive driving and hand-to-hand combat.

But Yu and Lulu say their jobs aren't as dramatic or dangerous as their training and movies would suggest.

"People believe bodyguards fight all day, but our job is to do our best to notice risks and avoid them," Lulu says.

The job is tedious and tiring. She must concentrate to scan for risks every second of every shift. That goes for seemingly safe places, such as entrepreneurs' companies, too.

Securing a woman's world
Female bodyguards keep threats at arm's length

She accompanies clients all day as a driver or assistant at their offices and banquets.

Lulu gets to rest only when her clients do. She spent a month accompanying a client to socialize with friends until 3 am every night but had to get up at 7 am to drive her child to school.

That said, there are dangerous moments in which China's women bodyguards must spring into action.

Yu recalls more than a dozen people trapped her client on a building's ninth floor. She and her client had to escape through the 10th-floor window and rappel down the building's exterior to safety.

Lulu explains: "Our job is to rescue clients and bring the other parties under control without harming anyone."

But other requirements mean her kit includes sanitary napkins, pills and nylons for her clients - just in case.

"My responsibility isn't only to protect her from physical threats but also from embarrassment," Lulu says.

She learns about clients' health, habits and lifestyles before assignments. Lulu also keeps their agendas and reminds them of appointments.

Yu says it's often wealthy husbands who hire bodyguards to watch their wives and children.

In return, women guards often earn more than 300,000 yuan ($49,000) a year - a large proportion of which the company takes as commission. Lulu's company claims half. Women bodyguards' salaries are usually higher than men's because there are fewer females in the industry.

And clients often ply them with pricey gifts - iPhones, designer perfumes and luxury handbags.

Shi explains: "We try not to arrange a woman bodyguard for a male client or a male guard for a female client. It's inconvenient. And they could become emotionally involved."

The first lesson guards get on the first day is: Don't get into a relationship with the client.

Related: Flight versus fight