China’s Special Operation Forces (SOF) are very different from their American counterparts, wrote Dennis J. Blasko, a retired lieutenant colonel of the United States Army specializing as a Military Intelligence and Foreign Area Officer in China, in his article in Washington-based War on the Rock.
They are not established for direct action, strategic reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, civil affairs operations, counterterrorism or military information support operations, the main job description of US special forces, Blasko said. As a matter of fact, they are more similar to the 75th Ranger Regiment of the US Army.
Unlike the American SOF units, dedicated to defending US national interests abroad, the most important task for Chinese SOF units is to support domestic security operations, Blasko said. The PLA and PAP SOF units are established to deal with non-traditional security threats called the “three forces:” terrorism, separatism and extremism. Still, the PLA SOF units also likely carry out unconventional warfare and foreign internal defense missions in Taiwan.
Since Beijing has always considered Taiwan a Chinese territory, PLA SOF units can be be used in contingency operations. Primarily, they would be used to support the “Fifth Column” fighters already on the island. However, there is little open source evidence that Chinese SOF units are preparing for such missions in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia or Latin America. Such activity in Southeast and East Asia might be more feasible due to cultural affinities and the presence of overseas Chinese.
Full article: China’s special forces a different breed from US: ex-intelligence officer (Want China Times)