Snow Leopard Commando Unit

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Snow Wolf Commando Unit
SWCU patch.jpg
The arm patch formerly used by SWCU operators
Active December 2002 (existence only revealed on 29 August 2006)[1] - Present
Country People's Republic of China
Branch People's Armed Police
Type Special Forces
Role Counter-Terrorism
Size 400 officers
Part of As the 3rd Group of the 13th Detachment under the PAP's Beijing General Corps[2]
Colors White with blood specks
March Goose step

Conducted security operations in the 2008 Summer Olympics

Counter-terrorist operations in Xinjiang province

Security missions in Afghanistan

Guards of the Chinese embassy and officials in Iraq

The Snow Leopard Commando Unit (Simplified Chinese: 雪豹突击队), formerly known as the Snow Wolf Commando Unit (Abbreviation: SWCU; Simplified Chinese: 雪狼突击队) is a special operations unit of the People's Republic of China under the People's Armed Police,[1] tasked with counter-terrorism, riot control, and other special tasks such as anti-hijacking and bomb disposal. The SLCU, along with Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau's Beijing SWAT unit, was tasked with many of the security responsibilities of the 2008 Summer Olympics.[3] Officially, the SLCU is known as the 3rd Group, 13th Detachment, People's Armed Police Beijing General Corps.[2]

The former Snow Wolf name was bestowed on the unit because of the known tenacity of Arctic wolves and their ability to both survive and thrive in extremely harsh conditions.[4]


After its secret establishment in October 2002, the Snow Wolf Commando Unit (SWCU) trained out of the public eye for five years.[5] The SWCU and the Beijing SWAT unit were unveiled in a demonstration at the Beijing Police Academy on 27 April 2006[6] as part of a public relations effort to illustrate the capabilities of the People's Armed Police to deal with terrorism, the protection of delegates, and to enforce law and order in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.[1] The SWCU had participated in anti-terrorist exercises with Russia on 4 September 2007 known as "Cooperation-2007."[7] SWCU operators have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to protect Chinese diplomatic personnel.[2]

The unit underwent a name change and became officially known as the Snow Wolf Commando Unit'.[4] According to Qu Liangfeng, a senior PAP officer in charge of the daily operations of SWCU, the name change was "inspired by the story of a brave and cunning snow wolf, which escaped an ambush by a hunter and his eight hunting dogs."[4]

Training and selection[edit]

Only officers who have served in the People's Armed Police for a period of 1 to 2 years are eligible to apply, after which they will be put through a process of interviews and physical and psychological tests.[1] The average age (as of 2006) of SLCU officers is 22 years, as most entered the unit at about 18 years of age, making them amongst the youngest in the counter-terrorism community.[8]

The officers who are eventually selected for the course undergo an arduous period of physical training, driving lessons for various vehicles, and weapons training.[9][10] Their physical training includes 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 100 squats, lifting barbells 200 times and carrying a 35 kg load for a 10 km cross-country run.[1] They are then assigned to the Beijing General Corps' 13th Detachment, where the SLCU is based.[2][11]


The SLCU consists of four squadrons assigned with very specific responsibilities:[11]

Squadron Duty
9th and 10th Squadrons Counter-Terrorism
11th Squadron Obstacle Removal, Bomb Disposal, Anti-WMD Terrorism
12th Squadron Snipers

Weapons and equipment[edit]

The SLCU was shown in the demonstrations armed with the QBZ-95 series of rifles and QSZ-92 pistols, but they will most likely also be armed with a wide variety of submachine guns and other firearms.[12] The unit has spent about CNY 2 million (approximately US$ 258,000) in domestically manufactured armored personnel carriers for riot-control and has also imported CNY 4 million worth of American-manufactured vehicles and equipment.[12]

Each SLCU operator is estimated to be outfitted with CNY 300,000 (approximately US$ 48,000) worth of equipment, including their body armor and communications equipment.[13][14]


In the standard uniform layout, the arm patch is sewn on the right arm and the unit badge is located above the right breast pocket. The words "SPECIAL POLICE GRP" (Special Police Group) are embroidered on the right side of the tactical vest or body armor. These badge and patch locations differ from all the other P.R.C. uniformed units, whose badges and patches are embroidered on the left side of their uniforms.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e 装备堪比欧美:中国雪狼突击队揭开神秘面纱 (in Chinese). Sina. 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d "People's Armed Police Beijing General Corps". Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  3. ^ "People's Armed Police Special Police Units". Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  4. ^ a b c "Beijing's Answer to Bond". Beijing Review. 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  5. ^ MacLeod, Calum (2008-07-17). "Missiles, 100K police on China's Olympic team". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  6. ^ 图文:雪狼突击队员手持95式自动步枪射击 (in Chinese). 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  7. ^ "Sino-Russian Anti-terror Exercise Kicks Off". Xinhua. 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  8. ^ 直击北京奥运反恐训练:雪狼突击队秘密集训3年 (in Chinese). 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  9. ^ "Snow Leopards, Blue Swords ready to keep Games safe". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  10. ^ "Snow Leopard Commando Ready for Combat". CRI English. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  11. ^ a b "People's Armed Police Special Police Units". Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  12. ^ a b 奥运安保进入实战演练 反恐精英雪狼突击队(图) (in Chinese). 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  13. ^ "Anti-terrorism force in action ahead of Olympics". 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  14. ^ 奥运雪狼:北京奥运反恐训练直击 (in Chinese). 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2010-03-11.