Paramilitary: November 10, 2004


: In China, the line between the armed forces and the police is sometimes blurred. A perfect example of this is the Peoples Armed Police (PAP). Technically, the Armed Police is an armed force that undertakes social security duties as well as the enforcement of law and order within the country. The history of the PAP is a confusing one. The PAPs ancestor was the Peoples Public Security Force, established in 1949 after the creation of the Peoples Republic of China. However, it was disbanded during the Cultural Revolution and its duties transferred to the PLA (People's Liberation Army, or, "the army"). After the Cultural Revolution, feeling that the PLAs primary duties should be the national defense of the country, frontier police units were reestablished under the Ministry of Public Security, the same ministry that oversees the civilian Chinese police. The Peoples Armed Police were created in 1982. In fact, a lot of demobilized PLA troops have been incorporated into the PAP since its creation. The PAP is rigidly organized, like most of Communist Chinas military/police arms, with a national headquarters in Beijing and local headquarters in every province of the country. Another confusing aspect of the PAP is that it is under the authority of two different bodies: The Central Military Commission and the Ministry of Public Security, which also manages the regular police forces. Within the PAP, a number of different types of units exist each with their own distinct missions, some of them military oriented and some law enforcement-oriented. These units are internal defense units, frontier defense units, fire brigade units, mobilized divisions, gold units, and forest police units. The internal defense units are basically light infantry units designed to suppress internal threats with force. This would mean anything from putting down demonstrations to fighting a counterguerrilla war. They also guard government buildings and other key facilities throughout the countries. The frontier defense forces are basically, again, light infantry military forces. However, instead of protecting against internal threats, these forces are basically a first line of border defense against attack by a foreign enemy and against other border violations. They also serve an important law enforcement role as they are the equivalent of the USs Border Patrol and are involved in seizing cross-border narcotics shipments and other contraband. Garrison units are basically troops that are stationed in Beijing to protect the central government departments. Mobile divisions are mechanized infantry divisions that have been formed in response to the growing threats of rebellion in the Xinjiang province and other areas. Ethnic minority separatism has long been a problem in China and the Chinese government is determined to keep a lid on it. The Special Police Units are sort of a cross between police SWAT teams and DELTA Force commandos. They are in charge of both counter-terrorism and riot control. Thus, the PAP is, in reality, both a national police force and an extra military ground force to be used for the countrys defense. 


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