China is 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, is that the Chinese
special operations forces (SOF) remain 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 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.
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
has been recruiting and training SOF personnel heavily for about fifteen years
now. That means they have hundreds of very experienced operators, each with
over a decade of SOF experience. Taiwan is aware of the threat, and apparently
knows a lot more about Chinese SOF capabilities than the general public. Taiwan
has a pretty large espionage operation on the mainland, and a substantial part
of it is directed at Chinese SOF. Taiwan has plans for dealing with the
Chinese commando threat. But Taiwan is not sharing those plans with anyone.