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Special Operations: Chinese SEALs
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August 3, 2010: Chinese TV recently showed videos of Chinese commandos operating from submarines. This would be the equivalent of American SEAL commandos, and the first acknowledgement by China that they have such a force. This should not be surprising.

China has been putting a lot of effort into its commando forces, and not letting many details get out. However, based on what has been published in China, and what leaks out of the country via the Internet, the Chinese special operations forces (SOF) appears to be small, well equipped, and well trained. There are fewer than 5,000 troops in the Chinese SOF, organized into 6th Special Warfare Group, 8th Special Warfare Group, 12th Special Warfare Detachment and Naval Commando Unit. The 15th Airborne Corps is used as a major source of recruits. Thus Chinese soldiers know that if they want to become commandos, they have to get into an airborne unit first. The Chinese SEALs are apparently part of the naval commando unit, which has been seen operating from surface ships. Some have apparently been sent with ships serving on the anti-piracy patrol off Somalia. All this is quite recent.

At the time of the 1991 Gulf War, the Chinese only had a few hundred commando type troops, and they were intended mainly for long range recon missions. But after seeing what American SOF soldiers did in the Persian Gulf, the Chinese began forming units similar to American Rangers. By the time the 2001 war in Afghanistan came along, the Chinese decided to develop more commandos along the lines of American Special Forces, Delta Force, and British SAS.

Chinese SOF units mainly train and plan for operations against Taiwan. This would include attacks on key targets, as well as kidnapping or killing senior military and political leaders. Some of this would involve Chinese SOF operators who snuck on to the island as tourists or commercial travelers beforehand. China has been recruiting and training SOF personnel heavily for nearly two decades. That means they have hundreds of very experienced operators, each with over a decade of SOF experience. The Chinese SEALs are probably no exception.


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Folder       8/4/2010 4:16:26 AM
Interesting. So it's explicitly stated that troops are being trained for a future war against Taiwan -- so this tells me that the writer of the article believes that China really are very interested in Taiwan. -- And the writer of the article is, of course, very well informed - so I have no trouble believing that conclusion, which is an interesting one and opens much discussion.
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WarNerd       8/4/2010 1:39:12 PM
The old SOF were concentrated against Taiwan, and appears focused on sabotage, stealthy assault on key facilities, and assassination.  But, while it is to be expected that the new, larger, SOF forces would also assist in any invasion of that island their primary focus is probably elsewhere.
China has greatly expanded their overseas business operations in the last decade, especially in conflict zones where western companies are reluctant to operate.  This creates a need for forces trained in hostage rescue, engaging guerrillas/bandit groups, establishing friendly relations with native populations (something the Chinese are notoriously bad at), training non-Chinese troops, etc.  The current deployment of some of these troops to anti-piracy patrols off Somalia would support this.
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Panther    Folder   8/6/2010 12:50:52 AM
" so this tells me that the writer of the article believes that China really are very interested in Taiwan."

 Huh? Are you serious! They never stopped being interested since they pushed the KMT off the mainland over sixty years ago.
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