As a component of China's armed forces and subordinate to the State Council, the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) is under the dual leadership of the State Council and the CMC. The PAPF consists of the internal security force and various police forces. The border public security, firefighting and security guard forces are also components of the PAPF. The PAPF is charged with the fundamental task of safeguarding national security, maintaining social stability and ensuring that the people live and work in peace and contentment.
Routine Guard Duties
Routine guard duties refer to duties the PAPF performs to maintain internal security, which are mostly carried out by the internal security force. The basic tasks are: to guard against all forms of attempted attacks and sabotage; protect designated individuals and facilities; ensure the security of important international and national conferences and large-scale cultural and sports events; protect important airports, radio stations, and key and confidential units, and vital places in such sectors as state economy and national defense; protect important bridges and tunnels; ensure the security of prisons and detention houses; and maintain public order in state-designated large and medium-sized cities or specific zones. Routine guard duties can be divided into regular and temporary missions. Usually the regular missions are assigned by the Ministry of Public Security, and the temporary ones are assigned by local Party committees, governments or public security organs.
Every day, more than 260,000 PAPF servicemen are on guard duty. In recent years, the PAPF has made efforts to regularize and strictly manage the performance of its duties, and improve it through science and technology, including improvement of duty-related facilities, and reduce hidden hazards. It has realized all-personnel, whole-process, full-time visualization in duty management. It has effectively enhanced duty performance and ensured the safety of guarded targets by optimizing duty organization and arrangement, implementing duty regulations and meticulously organizing important temporary duties. On average, the PAPF annually handles dozens of attempted attacks against guarded targets, prevents hundreds of escape attempts by detained suspects and imprisoned convicts, organizes thousands of important temporary duties, and ensures the security of important international and national conferences and large-scale events in cooperation with the government departments concerned. The various units of the PAPF take an active part in efforts to keep public order. Since 2007, they have assisted the public security organs in catching and arresting more than 2,800 criminal suspects.
Handling Public Emergencies
The handling of public emergencies refers to operations by the PAPF to deter and deal with emergencies which endanger public security. Mainly undertaken by the PAPF standby forces, such operations include those to handle public security incidents, natural disasters, disastrous accidents, and public health incidents. The specific tasks are to control affected areas, check the identifications, vehicles and belongings of suspected persons, protect important targets, disperse illegal assemblies, rescue hostages and those trapped by troublemakers, nip illegal activities and criminal offenses in the bud, hunt down criminal suspects, and participate in emergency rescue and disaster relief work.
The PAPF is the state's mainstay and shock force in handling public emergencies. The PAPF is assigned such missions by the CPC Central Committee, the State Council, the CMC or local Party committees, governments and public security organs, and carries out these missions under the unified leadership of the above authorities.
The PAPF makes full preparations for handling public emergencies by establishing all levels of command centers, improving information systems, allocating resources scientifically, and providing communications, supplies and transportation in a reliable way. On receiving mission orders, it is able to deploy immediately and arrive at the scene in time. It adopts such means and methods as military deterrence, persuasion and legitimate use of force. It always exercises caution in the use of force, compulsory measures, police instruments and weapons. It cracks down on a handful of criminals in accordance with the law and deals with public disturbances, riots, illegal demonstrations, group fighting with weapons, acts of violence and terrorism efficiently, appropriately and legally. In the past two years it has taken part in operations to handle the "3.14" Lhasa riots, hunt down the "East Turkistan" terrorists, conduct accident rescues, deal with large-scale mass disturbances, and respond to various emergencies. In this way it has effectively upheld the fundamental interests of the people, maintained the social stability of the places where its forces are stationed and safeguarded the authority of the nation's laws.
International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
China attaches great importance to international counter-terrorism cooperation, and so far has participated in 11 international counter-terrorism treaties. The PAPF is an important counter-terrorism force of the state.
Strengthening international counter-terrorism consultations and exchanges. In compliance with international counter-terrorism treaties and agreements, the PAPF has sent delegations to over 30 countries for bilateral or multilateral counter-terrorism exchanges, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Israel, Brazil, Cuba, South Africa, Russia and Pakistan, and hosted delegations from 17 countries, such as Russia, Romania, France, Italy, Hungary, South Africa, Egypt, Australia and Belarus.
Sending personnel abroad to receive training or provide training assistance. The PAPF has sent delegations or personnel to a dozen countries, including France, Israel, Hungary, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, to attend training courses in special duties, participate in or observe contests of various kinds, and conduct exchanges in counter-terrorism techniques and skills. It has sent teams of instructors to such countries as Romania and Azerbaijan to provide teaching or training assistance.
Holding joint counter-terrorism exercises. In September 2007, the PAPF and the Internal Troops of Russia staged their first joint counter-terrorism exercise, "Cooperation-2007. " The exercise focused on "operations by special forces to rescue hostages and destroy terrorist organizations and groups."
Maintaining Public Security in Border and Coastal Areas and Orderly Entry and Exit at Ports
The border public security force, listed as a component of the PAPF, is an armed law-enforcement body deployed by the state in border and coastal areas and at ports. Its main responsibilities are as follows: border and coastal public security administration; ports and border inspection and surveillance; patrols and surveillance in areas adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao; patrols and surveillance along the demarcation line of the Beibu Gulf; and the prevention of and crack-down on illegal and criminal acts in border and coastal areas, such as illegal border crossing, smuggling and drug trafficking.
The border public security force has 30 contingents in provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities directly under the central government, except Beijing); 110 detachments in border and coastal prefectures (prefecture-level cities, autonomous prefectures or leagues) and 20 marine police detachments in coastal prefectures; 207 active-duty border inspection stations at open ports; 310 groups in border and coastal counties (county-level cities or banners); 1,691 border police substations in border and coastal townships (towns); 46 frontier inspection stations on major border routes; and 113 mobile groups deployed in important sectors in border areas.
In recent years the border public security force has made efforts to implement the strategy of safeguarding the people and consolidating border defense; strengthen public security efforts by the general public; improve mechanisms for investigating, mediating and settling disputes, conflicts and mass incidents; tackle prominent public security issues; promote the building of model villages and consolidate border defense; and help children in need, thus vigorously promoting harmony and stability in border and coastal areas. Further efforts have been made by border inspection stations to improve their services. As a result, an environment has been created for safe, rapid and convenient customs clearance.
The border public security force, supported by other relevant departments, has cracked down hard on crimes, such as illegal border crossing, drug trafficking and smuggling, and carried out campaigns to combat organized criminal gangs and suppress evil forces in border and coastal areas. Since 2007 it has arrested 4,400 illegal border crossers, seized 3,806 kg of drugs, seized smuggled goods worth RMB620 million, cracked 19,205 criminal cases and handled 60,063 violations of public security.
Pursuant to relevant provisions of the Ministry of Public Security, the marine police force has established and strengthened maritime law-enforcement agencies, augmented its law-enforcement personnel, refined its law-enforcement regulations, and improved its ships and equipment. It has cracked 41 maritime criminal cases, carried out 115 maritime rescue and salvage operations, and saved 238 people in distress.