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Heroes in action

By LI YINGQING in Kunming and MENG WENJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-19 06:24
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Li Ming (pseudonym) in training. [Photo by Yi Jianyun and Niu Wei/For China Daily]

The Clouded Leopard Commando Unit in Kunming, Yunnan, demonstrates their commitment to public safety.

In Kunming, the capital city of Southwest China's Yunnan province, a criminal took two hostages in a hotel. During negotiations, the criminal unexpectedly fired shots. Upon hearing the gunfire, two police officers swiftly entered the room and successfully eliminated the threat in a close-quarters gunfight, ensuring the safe rescue of the hostages.

This remarkable hostage rescue wasn't a scene from a movie but a real-life operation conducted by the Clouded Leopard Commando Unit, a counterterrorism force within the special police unit of the Kunming Municipal Public Security Bureau. The unit is named after the agile and powerful clouded leopards native to Yunnan.

"The commandos are like legends to me," said Li Ming (pseudonym), a 26-year-old member of the unit.

Inspired by the unit's reputation during his university years, Li dreamed of joining it. After graduating from the People's Public Security University of China in Beijing in 2021, he was recruited by the special police unit in Kunming.

By 2023, due to his exceptional performance, Li achieved his ambition of becoming a Clouded Leopard commando. His duties expanded to handling more dangerous situations, including encounters with armed criminals and managing urgent and complex tasks like rescues and counterterrorism operations.

The path to becoming a seasoned commando involves enduring eight hours of demanding daily training over a period of three to five years. Li must meet more than 20 strict requirements covering physical fitness, weapon skills, and tactical expertise.

Additionally, specialized training in areas like tactical driving, diving, and sniping is tailored to each recruit to maximize their individual strengths.

Once a leisure activity for Li, physical fitness has now become a daily essential obligation and a personal challenge. Despite occasional temptations to slack off, he finds motivation in his colleagues' commitment to training. "If I don't make progress each day, I feel like I'm wasting valuable time," he said.

In addition to their daily training regimen, teamwork also plays a crucial role in the curriculum of these "clouded leopards."

A key exercise in Li's training routine involves "trust target shooting", where a sniper aims at an apple held by a teammate. According to Li, the sniper's precision must be exceptional, and the teammate holding the target must have complete faith in the sniper's skill and accuracy to prevent any mishaps.

"This exercise aims to build trust among team members, ensuring that you can confidently depend on your teammates, especially in challenging situations," Li explained.

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