China’s Special Forces go through intense training to ensure that the top soldiers of a country that views itself as the world’s rising superpower can be as versitile as possible.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Special Operations Force is responsible for commando and counter-terrorism operations, and specialises in rapid-reaction combat. For the past two years, Chinese special forces units have taken first place at the annual Warrior Competition in Jordan against 18 countries, including the US and Russia.
The Warrior Competition is like the Olympics of military special operations. China’s top spot in the event signals an increase in the quality of training and equipment for the country’s military personnel. This new emphasis on special forces comes at a time of heightened tension throughout east Asia over China’s aggressive stance towards territorial disputes with its neighbours and Beijing’s willingness to redraw borders to fit its agenda.
Tensions have increased to such a point that one professor at a Chinese military university wrote an op-ed stating that World War III would begin on China’s periphery, likely over maritime issues. China’s Special Forces may have been created and nurtured with this kind of major military engagement in mind.
A video from Chinese broadcasting company CCTV 7 features an in-depth look at the sort of training activities that Chinese Special Forces based in Hong Kong go through. I
It’s possible that this video isn’t a totally accurate representation of the training regimen — that it’s a carefully choreographed projection of Chinese military competence and strength.
At the same time, it shows that China is serious about developing a special forces component for its military, at the same time that it’s implimenting policies that could vastly change the region’s security dynamic.
Training for the Special Forces requires a mixture of physical and tactical training, along with team-building exercises.
The trainees compete in full body exercises in a harsh environment …
… As well as dexterity tests, such as this rope bridge.
The training regimen tries to stretch the trainees’ nerves as far as possible, as these men crawl through mud beneath fire and past simulated explosions.
Later on in the course, the trainees are made to crawl below barbed wire.
They’re also trained in physical combat — with real knives.
Snipers in the Special Forces also practice hitting targets as small as bottle caps from hundreds of yards away. In 2011, a Chinese sniper won the 10th Military and Police Sniper World Cup in Budapest.
And there are vehicular drills, too.
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