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Snow Leopards, Blue Swords ready to keep Games safe
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The Snow Leopard in an anti-terrorism drill. [File photo]

The Olympic Games start in 31 days, and the Chinese Special Forces are ready, authorities said on Tuesday.

The Snow Leopard Commando Unit, a major anti-terrorism wing of the People's Armed Police, is ready for security operations during the Games, said a Beijing armed police official. "We have been training intensively for any possible incident."

Only those who had previously served in the People's Armed Police were eligible to apply for the special training. After interviews and physical and psychological tests, those who were chosen learned to handle themselves in all sorts of situations. They were taught to drive all kinds of vehicles, handle a range of weapons, dispose of explosives and wrestle, he said.

They had to scale heights of 1.8 meters and creep through tunnels just 80 centimeters wide. And they had to be able to climb a 30 m high building and slide back down to the ground by a rope in just one minute.

The goal of training snipers is never to miss a shot, said the unit leader. "We will not give a terrorist the chance to hear the second shot."

"It has become my habit to be on high alert all day, every day, " a unit member told Xinhua.

Founded in 2003, the wing has taken part in four national anti-terrorist drills and the 2007 Sino-Russian anti-terrorism exercise.

Beside the Snow Leopards, a 120-strong special team under the Beijing armed police is the Blue Sword Commando Unit, whose members are equipped with the most advanced arms and helmets in China. Their detectors can locate a sniper within a few seconds.

A special flight brigade will monitor Games venues from above. All the pilots have been trained at undisclosed locations overseas to be sure their skills were up to international standards.

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