China Table of Contents
The People's Armed Police Force (PAPF), after a trial period in selected jurisdictions, was officially established at the national level in 1983. In line with the general policy of reducing the size of the armed forces and transferring responsibilities to the civilian sector, the newly established force was formed from internal security units reassigned from the PLA to the Ministry of Public Security and from border defense (customs) and fire-fighting units (see Military Modernization , ch. 14). In 1985 the PAPF consisted of approximately 600,000 volunteers and conscripts. With a general headquarters at the national level and subordinate division-level provincial or specialized units, regimental-level detachments, and battalion-level brigades, it retained its military organization.
PAPF units assigned to internal security were responsible for guarding party and state organizations and foreign embassies and consulates, as well as for responding to emergencies and maintaining law and order. Border defense units performed standard customs duties, such as inspecting vehicles and ships entering and leaving the country, and maintained surveillance against smugglers and drug traffickers. PAPF firefighting units were responsible for fire-prevention education as well as for fighting fires. PAPF units at every level worked in close cooperation with the armed forces and other public security organizations.
Data as of July 1987