The People’s Liberation Army may be the largest military in the world, but they did not have a special forces unit until 1988. Known as the “special-mission rapid reaction unit,” it was established in the Guangzhou Military Region and had a core made up of reconnaissance units. These units have kept a low profile and rarely make the news compared to other well-known units, such as the SAS and Green Berets. The Navy and PLAAF also have SOF units, with some having been created as recently as 2011. Overall, a special forces brigade is estimated to have a total of 2,000 personnel with the overall total throughout the country coming in at 20,000-30,000 personnel.
The Crossroads of Special Operations