New counter-terror force in Xinjiang

Global Times
Dong Zhaohui
2019-08-21 22:59:14

Armed police from the Snow Leopard Commando Unit undergoing intensive training in a hilly area under the blazing sun interrupted by a rainstorm. The training to last a week includes programs challenging the body and mind such as rescue missions and disposal of explosive ordnance. The Snow Leopard Commando Unit created in 2002 is mainly tasked with urban anti-terrorism missions and has safeguarded dozens of major events such as the Beijing Olympic Games, Xinhua reported. (Photo: China News Service)

By Guo Yuandan

The Chinese People's Armed Police have established a new counter-terror special operations unit in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to adapt to the needs of counter-terrorism missions there, media reported on Tuesday.

The unit, called Mountain Eagle Commando, was revealed to the public for the first time, Chinese newspaper Cankao Xiaoxi reported on Tuesday.

It was formed under the military reform and aims to deal with counter-terror missions in Xinjiang and other places in China.

The name "Mountain Eagle" came from the unit's designated battlefield: mountains and plateaus. The unit's insignia is a flying mountain eagle with its beak pointed to the ground and claws open.

The report did not reveal when the Mountain Eagle Commando was established.

It it said the unit has begun to take shape, has passed a strict evaluation process and is now capable of conducting combat missions.

In 2018, the amount of ammunition used by the new commando unit was equal to all of the other Armed Police units in Xinjiang in the past three years, said Peng Jingtang, chief of staff of Armed Police Force in Xinjiang.

The leader of the Mountain Eagle Commando Unit is Wang Gang, who fought in Xinjiang's counter-terror efforts and participated in dealing with more than a dozen of serious terrorist incidents.

Zhang Xiaoqi, director of the intelligence bureau of the People's Armed Police staff department, told the Xinhua News Agency previously that the expansion of China's security interests in the new era has placed a higher demand on the Armed Police special operation forces.

The scope of missions for these units has expanded from land to sea, from within borders to beyond borders, from stability maintenance to safeguarding rights and interests, Zhang said.

He noted that special operation forces need to focus on key locations but also cover the whole country.

China has two other counter-terror ism commandos - the Guangzhou-based Snow Leopard Unit, which was established in 2002, and the Beijing-based Falcon Unit, established in 1982, according to media reports. This means the Armed Police now operate three special units each in the south, center and west, which reflects Zhang's vision.

The Armed Police aims to build commando forces capable of conducting missions at any time, in any place, under all weather conditions, and to deal with all factors, Cankao Xiaoxi said in a separate report in June.


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