Chinese Paramilitary Unit That Helped Suppress Hong Kong Protesters Also Trained Cuba’s ‘Black Berets’

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People hold Cuban and U.S. national flags as they gather to show their support for Cubans demonstrating against the Communist Party of Cuba in front of Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, on July 26, 2021. The CCP’s People’s Armed Police anti-dissent paramilitary force, which was deployed to help crush Hong Kong’s 2019 anti-communism protests, has been training the Cuban Black Berets special forces since at least 2008.
People hold Cuban and U.S. national flags as they gather to show their support for Cubans demonstrating against the Communist Party of Cuba in front of Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, on July 26, 2021. The CCP’s People’s Armed Police anti-dissent paramilitary force, which was deployed to help crush Hong Kong’s 2019 anti-communism protests, has been training the Cuban Black Berets special forces since at least 2008. (Image: GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

A Cuban military unit tasked with suppressing the July 11 anti-communism protests has been receiving training from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) People’s Armed Police (PAP), a paramilitary unit deployed to quash the historic pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019.  

According to a translated report from The Epoch Times, the English-language version of Chinese-language media outlet Dajiyuan, Chinese state-run media started promoting training exercises in 2008 between the PAP and the Cuban Interior Ministry’s (CIM) “Black Berets” special forces, a division of the Cuban communist regime’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.

The PAP taught Cuban military officers “mixed martial arts, hostage rescue, and handling ‘large scale riots’,” after which the CIM awarded the PAP its highest honors for their “special contribution.”

In a 58-page report published in 2019 by Washington-based National Defense University (NDU) titled China’s Other Army: The People’s Armed Police in an Era of Reform found the PAP, a force composed of up to a million personnel, is strictly under the control of the CCP’s central command in Zhongnanhai and has incorporated the China Coast Guard.

The report also notes many governments around the world are quietly utilizing the PAP, which has “emerged as a partner of choice for foreign governments in areas such as counterterrorism and peacekeeping training, in addition to its longstanding role as contributors to United Nations peacekeeping missions.”

NDU also says the unit is deployed overseas to guard the Party’s Belt and Road Initiative hegemony projects, while domestically, it was deployed to crush dissent in Xinjiang and Tibet. 

The Epoch Times also found that in 2016, the PAP sent six officers to the CIM to teach a one-month special training program that “involved more than 160 skills across six categories, including tactical shooting, Chinese martial arts, [and] Tai Chi.”

Cuba incorporated what it learned into its training regime. Photos published by Cuba-focused media outlet ADN revealed multiple pictures of Black Berets in full uniform posing with PAP officers in full uniform, including one where Black Berets are posing in martial arts gi with a uniformed Chinese officer with the blood-red People’s Republic of China flag hoisted next to the Cuban flag.

According to ADN and other reports, the Black Berets were deployed to silence Cuba’s July 11 protests, which saw thousands of citizens march in a call for the removal of the country’s 62-year-old regime. 

In March of 2019, Hong Kong Free Press reported city police had brought in the PAP to assist with quashing the enormous anti-CCP protests, which sometimes saw as many as two million citizens hitting the street to call for the elimination of communist rule after the Beijing-loyal city government sought to install a notorious “extradition bill” that would have seen political dissenters exported to the mainland for persecution and torture in the CCP’s re-education and labor camps and prisons.

In November of 2020, The Epoch Times received an internal Communist Party document which revealed that various facets of the Party’s security apparatus had conducted at least 115 training sessions for law enforcement officials from 62 developing countries between 2002 and 2017 in Yunnan Province’s capital city of Kunming.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson and propagandist Zhao Lijian made it clear the CCP stands with the Communist Party of Cuba in a July 13 press conference while answering a softball question from Phoenix TV, “China firmly opposes foreign interference in Cuba’s internal affairs, firmly supports what Cuba has done in fighting COVID-19, improving people’s livelihood and upholding social stability, and firmly supports Cuba in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions.”

Zhao claimed unrest in the Cuban population resulted from the long-standing U.S. trade embargo on the regime and that current Cuban figurehead Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez “immediately went to the site to listen to the call of the people and delivered a televised address on July 12.”

Bermudez, however, called for violence against protestors during his televised address, “We will not hand over our sovereignty, or the independence of the people, or the freedom of this nation…They have to pass over our corpses if they want to confront the Revolution and we are willing to do everything and will be on the streets combatting.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (2nd-L), standing next to Cuban then-Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel (2nd-R), attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Jose Marti monument in Revolution Square of Havana, on September 24, 2016. Diaz-Canel called for "revolutionaries" and "communists" to assault Cuban protestors in a televised address.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (2nd-L), standing next to Cuban then-Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel (2nd-R), attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Jose Marti monument in Revolution Square of Havana, on September 24, 2016. Diaz-Canel called for “revolutionaries” and “communists” to assault Cuban protestors in a televised address. (Image: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via Getty Images)

“This is why we are calling all the revolutionaries of our country, all the communists, to go to the streets anywhere that these provocations are happening today, from now on through all these days.”

A July 31 report by Townhall showed multiple U.S. celebrity leftists such as Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, and Oliver Stone also regurgitated Zhao’s Party line about the U.S. embargo, rather than the Communist Party of Cuba, being the source of consternation for Cuba’s citizens.

Townhall reported a call to end the embargo was made through an open letter and a full-page advertisement in the New York Times to “reject the cruel policies put into place by the Trump White House that have created so much suffering among the Cuban people” through the “Let Cuba Live!” website.

The Marxist-founded Black Lives Matter Global Network is also among the signatories.

Townhall poked several holes in the hypocrisy of the letter’s celebrity signatories, “But many of us who follow this issue note a stark divergence between what the Cuban people have been calling for the past couple of weeks and what their self-appointed celebrity benefactors are calling for.”

The publication paraphrased Cuban citizens as saying “Down with communism!” “Down with the dictatorship!” and “Diaz-Canel (Castro’s eunuch hand-puppet) SINGAO! (Cuban slang for Motherf**ker!).” 

This was contrasted against statements made by Jane Fonda, quoted by her biographer Patricia Bosworth, that could only be called open and full advocacy for the installation of communism, “If you understood what Communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that one day we would become Communist….My biggest regret is I never got to f*** Che Guevara.”

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.