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This article is organised as follows:

  • Part 01: Introduction to PLA Navy Special Operations  Forces.
  • Part 02: Hierarchy of PLA Navy Special Operations Forces.
  • Part 03: Organisation of PLA Navy Special Operations Forces.
  • Part 04: Recruitment, Selection and Training of PLA Navy Special Operations Forces.
  • Part 05: Training Establishments.
  • Part 06: Miscellaneous.

1.0     Introduction

“Although it appears that China’s special forces are still in the early stages of their development, it would be a mistake to dismiss their capabilities.” (Henderson, 2006, p.33).

This article is about the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Navy Special Operations Forces (SOF).

The PLA Navy (or PLAN) is one of seven (7) organisations that make up the Chinese Armed Forces (China Military, 2017) and has approximately 235,000 personnel – although military reforms may see an increase (Jianing, 2017).

PLA Navy SOF units comprise the sea component of the PLA’s SOF community. In contrast to its US counterparts, the PLA does not have a unified SOF Command, with operational and administrative control devolved to the branches of military service and Theatre Commands (TCs).

The PLA is commanded through the Central Military Commission, with PLA Navy combat units distributed among five TCs (Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern and Central).

Although the PLA’s primary role is to defend China from external threats, by law, it has a secondary role of supporting domestic security operations.

Many defence analysts categorise Chinese SOF as similar to US Rangers in their capabilities although closer inspection of their analysis, and a tradition of misinformation by the Chinese, suggests that Chinese SOF capabilities may be greater than perception suggests. Further, many defence analysts compare Chinese SOF against the codified US model of SOF, which is merely one among many.

For those who apply for PLA Navy SOF, approximately [? out of every 100] volunteers will be dropped/failed during the initial training programme.

This article will provide the reader with an outline of the PLA Navy’s SOF, providing a brief history and their role and purpose. It will then provide an outline of the hierarchy and organisation of PLA Navy SOF before moving on to describe the selection and training process. Finally, the article will discuss some of the training establishments which deliver training to Chinese PLA Navy SOF candidates before providing some useful links, publications and references.

1.1     Brief History of PLA Navy SOF

“China’s reluctance to get involved globally on a large scale may translate to a prioritization of development of China’s special operations capabilities.” (Kamphausen & Lai, 2015, p.220).

This sub-section provides a brief history of Chinese naval SOF which can trace their lineage back to the 1950s.

China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) (2009) tells us that the PLA Navy established its first Marine regiment in April 1953 “by transferring one infantry regiment and two infantry battalions from the army to form the nucleus of the PLAMC 1st Regiment.” (Lai, 2016).

The regiment was quickly upgraded to divisional status on 09 December 1954 Blasko (2010), with the addition of an infantry and amphibious tank regiment (Lai, 2016), as part of the East China Navy (MND, 2009).

“…within weeks [the division] was deployed to fight in the battle for Yijiangshan Island during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis.” (Blasko, 2010). The Marine Forces or ‘Marine Corps’ was originally established in the 1950s to conduct amphibious operations against Nationalist held islands. Blasko (2010) and Lai (2016) inform us that over the next few years, 110,000 troops returning from Korea were formed into eight marine divisions.

In June 1957, as part of military reforms (MND, 2009), the Marine Forces were reorganised and then subsequently disbanded in October 1957 (Lai, 2016; Global Security, 2017) when the PLA essentially abandoned plans to liberate Taiwan by force and “personnel and equipment transferred to the PLA Army.” (Blasko, 2010).

Between 1957 and 1979, the PLA Navy did maintain a naval infantry, which consisted of several infantry and amphibious tank regiments (Lai, 2016; Global Security, 2017).

“In 1974, a poor performance by the Army during the Xisha (Paracel) Island campaign caused the Central Military Commission to reassess the need for a dedicated marine force in the PLA Navy.” (Blasko, 2010).

Consequently, in December 1979, the PLA Navy started to re-establish the Marine Forces “to meet the demand of modern warfare.” (MND, 2009). Blasko (2010) states that the Xinhua News Agency on 03 October 2009 reported that the 1st Marine brigade was established on 05 May 1980 in the Ding’an County, Hainan Island, forming part of the South Sea Fleet, and later relocated to Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province. The 1st Marine brigade was established from elements of the 391th Regiment of the 131st Division (Lai, 2016). Lai (2016) states that the Eastern and Northern Fleets also raised Marine brigades but these were later disbanded in the 1985 military reforms, whilst the South Sea Fleet brigade was strengthened.

In 1995, female volunteers became eligible to join the PLA Marine Corps (Lai, 2016).

In September 1997, the second Marine brigade was established when a PLA Army unit, the 164th Motorised Infantry Division, was converted to the 164th Marine Brigade and became part of the South Sea Fleet, and stationed in Zhanjiang (Blasko, 2010; Lai, 2016). Blasko (2010) also informs us that, at the same time, two other PLA Army divisions, one in the Nanjing Military Region and another in the Guangzhou Military Region, were transformed into amphibious mechanised infantry divisions, adding to the existing PLA Army’s amphibious tank brigade.

As of June 2017, the Marine Forces consist of two brigades with approximately 6,000 personnel each and are considered Elite Forces (EF). They are utilised as rapid mobilisation forces trained primarily in amphibious warfare and as paratroopers to establish a beachhead or act as a fighting spearhead during operations against enemy targets, as well as coastal defence. The Marine Forces consist of Infantry, artillery, armour, engineering, reconnaissance, communication and chemical defence units.

With further military reforms initiated in December 2015 and the PLAN’s accelerating efforts to expand its capabilities beyond territorial waters, it would be likely for the Marine Corps to play a greater role in terms of being an offshore expeditionary force similar to the US Marine Corps and British Royal Marines.

The PLA Marine Corps is now one of five branches of the PLA Navy.

Chinese SOF now consist of PLA Army SF, PLA Army aviation units, PLA Rocket Force, PLA Navy Marine Corps, PLA Air Force Airborne troops and the People’s Armed Police force units.

1.2     General Duties of Special Operations Forces

SOF personnel are required to infiltrate and exfiltrate to and from operational areas dismounted, carrying heavy loads and manipulating personal and support weapons systems and other heavy equipment. SOF personnel perform insertions and assaults on targets by:

  • Parachuting onto ground or into water;
  • Climbing ladders and cliffs;
  • Rappelling;
  • Conducting close-quarters battle (CQB); and
  • Battle drills in varying types of terrain and climatic conditions day or night.

SOF personnel are also required to board ocean vessels while they are underway from another floating or airborne platform in all sea states day or night, and where speed and stealth are imperative. These duties are performed while wearing heavy rucksack and body armour. SOF personnel perform individual CQB and detainee handling which may require the individual to:

  • Combat and detain another person using blocking strikes;
  • Disarming;
  • Lifting;
  • Pulling;
  • Ground fighting;
  • Grappling; and
  • Moving a non-compliant person.

There is no tolerance for a lapse in attention when conducting CQB and other assaults while wearing night vision goggles as well as Special Operations Insertion and Extraction (SOIE) techniques. Accurate discrimination of non-combatants and precision engagement of enemy combatants requires extreme concentration.

Similarly, high-risk roped and un-roped insertions with no redundant safety systems require constant attention. SOF personnel require the ability for continuous analysis of the situation, environment, mission aims and unique foreign societal complexities during operations.

1.3     Role and Purpose of PLA Navy SOF

The Marine Corps are considered elite troops, and are rapid mobilization forces trained primarily in amphibious warfare and as Paratroopers to establish a beachhead or act as a fighting spearhead during operations against enemy targets.

“The PLA Marines are thus a small but growing part of the PLA’s overall strategic and tactical planning and operations. They also remain one of the most “operationally ready” PLA units. Their deployment on UN peacekeeping and anti-piracy operations demonstrates their value for Beijing’s diplomatic efforts. With rapid growth and frequent deployment they will soon be a significance force, and one that the U.S. will need to consider in its regional strategy.” (Isajiw, 2013).

“China’s special forces seem to be well on their way toward becoming cohesive and competent units. Successive wins in international reconnaissance competitions show that they are mentally and physically tough, mastering many of the soldier skills needed in combat.” (Henderson, 2006, p.34).

2.0     Hierarchy of PLA Navy SOF

This section provides an outline of the civilian and military personalities and organisations that have some form of control, impact, or direction over the PLA Navy’s SOF.

2.1     President of the People’s Republic of China

The President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a civilian, has three main roles:

  • President of the PRC;
  • General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party; and
  • Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

2.2     Premier of the People’s Republic of China

The Premier of the PRC, a civilian, is the head of the Chinese Government’s State Council, which leads three important ministries (State Council, 2014):

  • The Ministry of Public Security;
  • The Ministry of State Security; and
  • The Ministry of National Defense.

2.3     Ministry of National Defense

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) is headed by the Minister of National Defense, generally known as the Defence Minister.

The MND was established in 1954 after a decision by the 1st Session of the 1st National People’s Congress. In contrast to western convention, the MND does not exercise command authority over the PLA, which is instead subordinate to the Central Military Commission (CMC). The MND principally serves as a liaison body representing the CMC and PLA when dealing with foreign militaries in military exchange and cooperation.

Its official responsibilities had been to exercise unified administration over the development of the Chinese Armed Forces such as recruitment, organisation, equipment, training, scientific military research of the PLA, and the ranking and remuneration of the officers and enlisted personnel. However, in reality, these responsibilities are carried out by the fifteen (15) agencies (previously four General Headquarters) of the PLA, which are under the control of the CMC.

Although the MND itself does not exercise much authority, the role of the Defence Minister has always been viewed as one of the most important positions in China’s political system. The Minister is always an active military officer (OF-9 level), a State Councillor and a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and member (sometimes a Vice Chairman) of the CMC, enabling the post holder to take part in the decision making process in the PLA, the Government and the Chinese Communist Party.

2.4     Central Military Commission

The CMC, chaired by the President of the PRC, exerts command and control of the PLA through fifteen (15) agencies: general office; joint staff department; political work department; logistical support department; equipment development department; training department; national defence mobilisation department; discipline inspection commission; politics and law commission; science and technology commission; administration; auditing; international cooperation; reform and organisational structure; and strategic planning (Zhaohui, 2016).

The Joint Staff Department has a number of responsibilities including military operational planning, command and control, studying and formulating military strategies, and assessing operational capacity (Zhaohui, 2016).

Reforms in early 2016, initiated by the then President of the PRC, witnessed a reorganisation from four departments to the fifteen agencies noted above.

2.5     Director General SOF

“Officially, the PLA does not have a unified command like the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for special operations, but the Intelligence Department (2nd Department) of the PLA General Staff Department may serve as a general director for SOF and special forces warfare doctrines development. The SOF units are also believed to be closely associated with the intelligence department[s] of the seven MRHQs.” (Global Defence, 2008).

There is currently (as of May 2017) no public information available discussing the post of general director of SOF after the 2016 reforms.

2.6     South Sea Fleet

The South Sea Fleet (SSF) is one of three fleets of the PLA Navy and is commanded by a Rear Admiral (OF-7). It is headquartered in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, and part of the Southern Theatre Command. SSF is responsible for the South China Sea and the PLAN’s two Marine brigades.

2.6     Commander PLA Navy SOF

“The commander of the Marine Corps is likely to be a senior captain and does not have an official position on the SSF staff.” (Global Security, 2017).

3.0     Organisation of PLA Navy SOF

Currently, all of the PLAN’s SOF units sit within the SSF, part of the Southern Theatre Command.

The PLA Navy SOF is currently organised as follows (Blasko, 2015b; Wood, 2016):

  • Dragon Commando.
  • PLA Navy Marine Corps:
    • 1st Marine Brigade, containing a SOF unit; and
    • 164th Marine Brigade, containing a SOF unit.
  • Support units.

“The PLA Navy (PLAN) South Sea Fleet and two Marine brigades have subordinate SOF units…” (McCauley, 2015a).

3.1     Dragon Commando (蛟龙突击队)

The main SOF unit of the PLA Navy is the Dragon Commando (蛟龙突击队) and is regarded as a Special Forces unit. Aid (2014) states “The PLA Navy’s commando team is the ‘Jiaolong,’ which means ‘Sea Dragon.’”

The Dragon Commando is a regiment-sized unit, located in Sanya (Blasko, 2015b), and was established during the 2000s as part of the South Sea Fleet (Military Training International, 2016).

“Equipped with black uniforms, this unit’s first publicly known mission was to accompany three Chinese war ships in protecting and escorting commercial ships against Somali pirates in December 2008, in cooperation with other nations as part of a UN mandate.” (Aid, 2014).

3.2     PLA Navy Marine Corps

“The PLA Marines are considered an elite special operations force, and theoretically therefore ‘punch above their weight class.’” (Isajiw, 2013).

PLA Navy Marine Corps (PLAMC), consisting of the 1st Marine Brigade and the 164th Marine Brigade, are regarded as Elite Forces units.

The two brigades have approximately 6,000 personnel each, making a combined total of 12,000 personnel (Blasko, 2010; Isajiw, 2013; Kamphausen & Lai, 2015). The PLAMC has both male and female personnel, since 1995 (Qian, 2013; Lai, 2016).

Both Marine brigades, converted from Infantry brigades, are under the operational command of the SSF and located near Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province (Wood, 2016). The PLAMC is headquartered in Beijing and reports directly to the Commander PLA Navy for administrative purposes (Global Security, 2017). The brigades are led by either Captains or Senior Captains (OF-5).

Blasko (2010) reports the two brigades have roughly the same organisational structure, as follows:

  • One or two amphibious armoured battalions each composed of 30-40 amphibious tanks or assault vehicles.
  • Four or five infantry battalions, some are mechanized with 30-40 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) or armoured personnel carriers (APC).
  • An amphibious reconnaissance unit probably composed of two or more, smaller ‘frogmen’ and special operations (SOF) units, including a unit with roughly 30 female scouts.
  • A self-propelled artillery battalion.
  • A missile battalion with an anti-tank missile company and an anti-aircraft missile company with man-portable surface-to-air missiles.
  • An engineer and chemical defence battalion.
  • A guard and communications battalion.
  • A maintenance battalion.

Unlike their US Marine Corps counterparts, PLA Marine Forces are not assigned organic aviation or amphibious shipping assets. Instead, the helicopter unit(s) subordinate to the SSF provides both transport and firepower support, there is a similar relationship for sea transport with the SSF landing ship flotilla.

The two brigades also have a small SOF unit (Fendui) each (Blasko, 2015b).

In 2015, Kamphausen and Lai (2015, p.182) stated “There is no evidence that the current marine corps of just 12,000 personnel will be expanded.” However, by 2017, it was reported by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that “China plans to increase the size of its marine corps from about 20,000 to 100,000 personnel to protect the nation’s maritime lifelines and its growing interests overseas, military insiders and experts have said.” (Chan, 2017).

The South China Morning Post (Chan, 2017) went on to state “that two brigades of special combat soldiers had already been moved to the marines, nearly doubling its size to 20,000, and more brigades would be added. The PLA marines will be increased to 100,000, consisting of six brigades…”

It is believed that most of this apparent growth would largely be achieved by moving four existing Amphibious Mechanised Divisions from the PLA Army to the PLA Navy (Global Security, 2017). However, it is reported that “China will add a third [special operations] brigade that will undergo a transformation such as special training and learning how to conduct amphibious operations.” (Global Security, 2017); possibly the 77th Motorised Infantry Brigade of the 26th Group Army Group which transferred to the PLA Navy in February 2017.

3.3     Support Units

Amphibious ship and helicopter units of the PLA Navy support Navy and Marine SOF units.

4.0     Selection and Training

This section of the article provides a very brief overview of the publicly available information regarding the selection and training of PLA Navy SOF candidates.

4.1     Selection and Screening

“Selection criteria for females are the same as for men, thus all those ladies who passed the PLAMC selection tests are indeed elite troopers as members of an-female elite amphibious RECON commando company.” (Lai, 2016).

4.2     SOF Training

Blasko (2010) informs us that the PLA Navy Marine Corps recruits personnel based on standards for special operations troops, for example they must be:

  • Physically fit;
  • Senior middle school or higher graduates; and
  • At least 5 feet 6 inches.

Blasko (2010) goes on to state that the two brigades conduct training for new recruits (which he states is the practice throughout the PLA). Training usually starts on 01 September (Allen & Clemens, 2014) (previously 10 December (Blasko, 2010; Allen & Clemens, 2014)), lasts for approximately three months and is physically demanding (Blasko, 2010; Allen & Clemens, 2014):

  • Swimming, in full combat gear, five kilometres in two and a half hours;
  • Running five kilometres in twenty three minutes; and
  • Performing 500 press-ups, sit-ups and squats daily.

After this basic training, personnel will receive advanced and specialised training. For example, Marine amphibious and SOF personnel will receive training in multiple infiltration methods (such as parachute, helicopter, overland, sea surface and underwater). Personnel may also receive training on underwater demolitions to clear obstacles from beaches (Blasko, 2010).

4.3     Graduation

“The original selection pool for the Special Operation Forces was over 100 soldiers, but only 30 qualified after training. I was one of them,” said Zhaxi Muga, Lieutenant of the PLA [1]2th Group Army.” (Bin, 2017).

5.0     Training Establishments

There are several training establishments involved in the delivery of training to candidates during their basic SOF and advanced SOF training. Some of these training establishments are outlined below.

5.1     PLA Special Operations Academy

The PLA Special Operations Academy (解放军特种作战学院), sometimes translated as the Academy of Special Operations, was established in 2012 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province (Blasko, 2015).

The original purpose of the academy was to prepare junior officers for assignments in SOF units.

5.2     PLA Physical Culture Academy

“The recent emphasis on building Special Operations Forces has resulted in the establishment of a unique course within the Physical Culture Academy in Guangzhou that includes anti-terrorist, peacekeeping, and information technology operations.” (Blasko, 2006, p.61).

The Physical Culture Academy was previously part of the General Staff Department (Blasko, 2006).

5.3     Naval Marine (Corps) Academy/College

Global Security (2017) informs us that “Prior to 1999, Marine Corps officers were trained in Army academies. In 1999, the PLAN’s Guangzhou Naval Vessel Academy established a Naval Marine Corps Tactics Command Department, which is responsible for training all new and company-grade Marine Corps officers.”

Lai (2016) states “The Marine Corps Academy is in southern China in the city of Guangzhou…” Allen and Clemens (2014) inform us that this institution has changed its name several times since its establishment in 1977:

  • 1977: Naval Second Surface Vessel School;
  • 1983: Naval Surface Vessel School;
  • 1986: Naval Guangzhou Vessel Academy/College;
  • 2004: Naval Arms Command Academy/College; and
  • 2011: Naval Marine (Corps) Academy/College “probably converted [from a command academic] to a specialty academic institution.” (Allen & Clemens, 2014, p11).

6.0     Miscellaneous

6.1     Useful Links

  • Ministry of National Defense: http://eng.mod.gov.cn/.
  • Ministry of Public Security: http://english.gov.cn/state_council/2014/09/09/content_281474986284154.htm.
  • China Military (the official English-Language news website of the PLA): http://english.chinamil.com.cn/.
  • China Daily: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/node_53006760.htm.
  • People’s Daily: http://en.people.cn/index.html

6.2     Useful Publications

  • Books:
    • Bo, J.Q. (2015) Chinese Special Forces: Real Man. Chinese Edition. Jiangsu: Jiangsu Phoenix Art Publishing House.
    • Kamphausen, R. & Lai, D. (eds) (2015) The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2025. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute and United States Army War College Press. Available from World Wide Web: https://fas.org/nuke/guide/china/pla-2025.pdf. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].
    • Lee, N. (1983) The Chinese People’s Liberation Army 1980-82: Modernisation, Strategy and Politics. Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. Available from World Wide Web: http://sdsc.bellschool.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/2016-03/sdsc-lee.pdf. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].
    • Pollpeter, K. & Allen, K.W. (eds) (0000) The PLA as Organization v2.0. PLACE: Defence Group Inc. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.pla-org.com/downloads/. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].
  • Research:
    • Lavender, D.J. (2013) China’s Special Operations Forces Modernization, Professionalization and Regional Implications. Master’s Thesis. United States Army War College. Available from World Wide Web: www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA589222. [Accessed: 17 April, 2017].
    • Yang, A.N.D. & Liao, M, W-C. (1998) Chapter 4: PLA Rapid Reaction Forces: Concept, Training, and Preliminary Assessment. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF145/CF145.chap4.pdf. [Accessed: 17 April, 2017].
  • Magazines:
    • Henderson, S.J. (2006) In the Shadow: Chinese Special Forces Build a 21st-Century Fighting Force. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of US Army Special Operations. July-August 2006. 19(4), pp.30-35.
    • Cheng, D. (2012) The Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Special Operations. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of US Army Special Operations. July-September 2012. 25(3), pp.24-27.
    • Andrew, M. (2015) The Origins of Chinese Special Forces, 1922-1935. Special Operations Journal. 1(1), pp.37-43.

6.3     References

Aid, M. (2014) China Has 10 Separate and Distinct Special Forces Units. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.matthewaid.com/post/105770345781/china-has-10-separate-and-distinct-special-forces. [Accessed: 16 May, 2017].

Allen, K. & Clemens, M. (2014) The Recruitment, Education, and Training of PLA Navy Personnel. Naval War College. China Maritime Studies, Number 12. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.usnwc.edu/Research—Gaming/China-Maritime-Studies-Institute/Publications/documents/CMS-12.aspx. [Accessed: 31 May, 2017].

Blasko, D.J. (2006) The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century. Oxon: Routledge.

Blasko, D.J. (2010) China’s Marines: Less is More. Available from World Wide Web: https://jamestown.org/program/chinas-marines-less-is-more/. [Accessed: 24 May, 2017].

Blasko, D.J. (2015a) Chinese Special Operations forces: Not Like “Back at Bragg”. Available from World Wide Web: https://warontherocks.com/2015/01/chinese-special-operations-forces-not-like-back-at-bragg/. [Accessed: 17 April, 2017].

Blasko, D.J. (2015b) PLA Special Operations Forces: Organizations, Missions and Training. Available from World Wide Web: https://jamestown.org/program/pla-special-operations-forces-organizations-missions-and-training/. [Accessed: 17 April, 2017].

Chan, M. (2017) As Overseas Ambitions Expand, China Plans 400 per cent increase to Marine Corps Numbers, Sources Say. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2078245/overseas-ambitions-expand-china-plans-400pc-increase. [Accessed: 26 May, 2017].

China Military (2017) Armed Forces. Available from World Wide Web: http://english.chinamil.com.cn/armed-forces/index.htm. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].

Global Defence (2008) PLA Special Operations Forces. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.globaldefence.net/archiv/artikelanalysen/asien/chinaplaspecialoperationsforcesenglishversion/. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].

Global Security (2017) People’s Liberation Army Navy – Marine Corps. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/plan-mc.htm. [Accessed: 17 May, 2017].

Henderson, S.J. (2006) In the Shadow: Chinese Special Forces Build a 21st-Century Fighting Force. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of US Army Special Operations. July-August 2006. 19(4), pp.30-35.

IADN (Indian Aerospace Defence News) (2016) Know about Chinese Special Forces. Available from World Wide Web: https://iadnews.in/2016/12/know-about-chinese-special-forces/#.WPQyfoiGOUk. [Accessed: 17 April, 2017].

Isajiw, C.P. (2013) China’s PLA Marines: An Emerging Force. Available from World Wide Web: http://thediplomat.com/2013/10/chinas-pla-marines-an-emerging-force/. [Accessed: 24 May, 2017].

Lai, B. (2016) The Dragon’s Teeth: The Chinese People’s Liberation Army – Its History, Traditions, and Air, Sea and Land Capabilities in the 21st Century. Oxford: Casemate Publishers.

McCauley, K. (2015a) PLA Special Operations: Forces, Command, Training and Future Direction. Available from World Wide Web: https://jamestown.org/program/pla-special-operations-forces-command-training-and-future-direction/. [Accessed: 22 May, 2017].

Military Training International (2016) Chinese Marines, Special Forces Training in Gobi Desert. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.mti-dhp.com/defense-news/chinese-marines-special-forces-training-in-gobi-desert/. [Accessed: 17 April, 2017].

MND (Ministry of National Defense) (2009) Major Events in PLA’s History 1977-1986. Available from World Wide Web: http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Database/History/2009-07/26/content_4007797.htm. [Accessed: 24 May, 2014].

Qian, Z. (2013) Female Soldiers of PLA Marine Corps in Training. Available from World Wide Web: http://en.people.cn/90786/8495545.html. [Accessed: 31 May, 2016].

State Council (2014) State Council Organization Chart. Available from World Wide Web: http://english.gov.cn/state_council/2014/09/03/content_281474985533579.htm. [Accessed: 19 May, 2017].

Tao, Z. (ed) (2016a) PLA holds Symposium to Mark Missile Force Anniversary. Available from World Wide Web: http://english.chinamil.com.cn/view/2016-06/28/content_7220910.htm. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].

Wood, P. (2016) Snapshot: China’s Southern Theater Command. Available from World Wide Web: https://jamestown.org/program/snapshot-chinas-southern-theater-command/. [Accessed: 16 May,2017].

Zhaohui, D. (ed) (2016) China Reshuffles Military Headquarters. Available from World Wide Web: http://english.chinamil.com.cn/view/2016-01/11/content_7160596.htm. [Accessed: 25 April, 2017].

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