Chinese SOF (special operations forces including commandos, and troops similar to American rangers and special forces) are a relatively recent development. While the first units were formed in the late 1980s, in the last decade China has let its SOF troops get out more, sending them to participate in international operations and even a NATO sponsored International Competition of Special Forces. Chinese commandos who participated in the 2009 competition walked away with the largest number of wins and broke several records.
The Chinese term for the SOF is Quantou Budui (fist units), an allusion to martial arts where a powerful blow in the right spot can quickly bring down a foe. Chinese SOF remains 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. continue