The Chinese People’s Armed Police have established a new counter-terror special operations unit in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to adapt to the needs of counter-terrorism missions there, Global Times reported.

The unit, called Mountain Eagle Commando, was revealed to the public for the first time, newspaper Cankao Xiaoxi reported. It was formed under the military reform and aims to deal with counter-terror missions in Xinjiang and other places in China.

The name “Mountain Eagle” came from the unit’s designated battlefield: mountains and plateaus. The unit’s insignia is a flying mountain eagle with its beak pointed to the ground and claws open.

The report did not reveal when the Mountain Eagle Commando was established, the report said.

It it said the unit has begun to take shape, has passed a strict evaluation process and is now capable of conducting combat missions.

In 2018, the amount of ammunition used by the new commando unit was equal to all of the other Armed Police units in Xinjiang in the past three years, said Peng Jingtang, chief of staff of Armed Police Force in Xinjiang.

The leader of the Mountain Eagle Commando Unit is Wang Gang, who fought in Xinjiang’s counter-terror efforts and participated in dealing with more than a dozen of serious terrorist incidents.

Zhang Xiaoqi, director of the intelligence bureau of the People’s Armed Police staff department, told the Xinhua News Agency previously that the expansion of China’s security interests in the new era has placed a higher demand on the Armed Police special operation forces.

The scope of missions for these units has expanded from land to sea, from within borders to beyond borders, from stability maintenance to safeguarding rights and interests, Zhang said.

He noted that special operation forces need to focus on key locations but also cover the whole country.

China has two other counter-terrorism commandos — the Guangzhou-based Snow Leopard Unit, which was established in 2002, and the Beijing-based Falcon Unit, established in 1982. This means the Armed Police now operate three special units each in the south, center and west, which reflects Zhang’s vision.