China continues to expand its special
operations forces (SOF). There are currently about 8,000 of them. While
recruiting and training is centralized, the SOF troops are assigned to the
seven military districts, with each one getting about a thousand. Another
thousand located in bases with the 15th Airborne Corps (a force of 30,000
troops that supplies a lot of recruits for SOF units). The SOF units in each
military region have their own name, and lots of spirit. The Beijing SOF units
is called the Divine Sword, Nanjing's is
the Flying Dragons, Guangzhou's is the
Sword of Southern China, Jinan;s are the Black Berets, Shenyang's are the
Furious Tigers, Chengdu's are the Falcons and Hunting Leopards, and Lanzhou's
are the Nocturnal Tigers.
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
beforehand. Meanwhile, the SOF units also train for counter-terror missions,
which includes dealing with particularly troublesome incidents of civil
been recruiting and training SOF personnel heavily for nearly twenty years now.
That means they have hundreds of very experienced operators, each with over a
decade of SOF experience. Most of the SOF troops, however, are more similar to
U.S. Rangers or British Royal Marine Commandos.