How does Chinese state capital operate in the neoliberal setting of Peruvian mining? The article tackles this question by focusing on Las Bambas, a large mine in the Andean highlands of Apurimac. We argue that China’s quest for Peruvian copper entwines state capital with neoliberal and authoritarian practices of state violence in a case of ‘para-coloniality.’ This concept explains how Chinese mining operations build on and reproduce the legacies of European colonialism and authoritarian rule under Fujimorismo to extract natural resources from formerly colonized territories. A corollary element in this relationship is that of ‘cheap security’, i.e. the Peruvian state’s practice of legally selling its policing services to mining companies who use them to discipline dissidents. The article draws on Critical Geopolitics, Legal Sociology and Political Ecology and highlights the shifting hierarchies of power that shape conflicts around copper extraction in the Andean highlands of Peru.