From SCMP (here)
China brings People’s Armed Police under control of top military chiefs. Paramilitary force will answer to body headed by President Xi Jinping
China will bring its paramilitary police force, the People’s Armed Police, under the direct control of the Central Military Commission, which controls the country’s armed forces, state media reported on Wednesday.
The 1.5 million-strong paramilitary police force previously came under a dual command structure of the CMC and the State Council, or cabinet, via the Ministry of Public Security. It serves as a backup for the military in times of war, and domestically has a role in putting down protests and counterterrorism – particularly in areas such as the restive far western Xinjiang region – as well as border defence and firefighting.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Say goodbye to the 14 Armed Police Mobile Divisions 武警机动师
After the downsizing is completed by end of 2018, the four reformed Mobile Divisions will lose all its supporting organizations, keeping only four training academies. Its engineering school, political college, logistics support, Military Police units, Art-and-Entertainment troupes, hospitals and medical units, retirement homes, etc will be merged into Ministry of Public Security HQ or decommissioned altogether. (here) Its existing "Corp Level Grade" will be changed to "Division Level Grade", making it much less powerful within the Chinese bureaucracy.
PAP mobile divisions are not your everyday "police with guns". They were ex-PLA divisions partly transferred to the Ministry of Public Security in 1996 to be deployed regularly to civilian trouble spots within China on short notice. Noticeable examples are the 2009 Xinjiang riot in which a total of 15,000 PAP reinforcements were deployed to that region. They were deployed to Tibet during the 2008 Tibetan unrest.
They were one of the first responders to natural distastes such as the 2008 earthquake. As recent as July 2016, four mobile divisions (~35,000 troops) were deployed to fight the East China flood (here)
From "The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century"
By Dennis J. Blasko, here is a list of 14 PAP mobile divisions and their former PLA division numbers:
The PAP mobile division HQ commands their own organic helicopter units, light artillery and IFV, very much a paramilitary organization. It will be interesting to learn more about their mandate of this smaller PAP organization when it becomes available.
Hey, the 90s called and they want their infantry fire support weapons back. Joking aside, PAP mobile divisions can still operate as light infantry today. Not sure that will be the case after the downsizing -- they could be specializing into an anti-terror centric organization, becoming smaller and more capable of responding to home-grown attacks. This will free up PLA's SpOps units to focus more on war-fighting. Time will tell.
PAP with Civilian Police (GongAn)