Little is known about the Immediate Action Unit except that it is an elite People's Armed Police unit rather than being drawn from the People's Liberation Army. In comparison to the Special Police Units which are the SWAT units at the provincial level, the Immediate Action Unit is the SWAT team at the national level. Given the challenges faced by the Government of China in the 21st century, it is suspected that the Immediate Action Unit is primarily tasked with responding to internal emergencies of great concern to the national government.
Its name changes frequently and may no longer be used at this time of writing. A similar unit fulfilling its counter-terrorism role is the Snow Leopard Commando Unit.