Editor’s Note: The following piece was submitted to us by SOFREP reader Cory Bravo. He is an expert on international affairs with a special emphasis on China

We thank Cory for his submission and remind all SOFREP readers that they are welcome to send articles at any time to be considered for publication. –GDM

A recent PLA Daily article discussed how a special operations brigade of the PLA’s 80th Group Army 第80集团军 invited a civilian named Li Huaiyi 李怀义 to teach the unit how to shoot under the rules used by the International Army Games (IAG). The IAG is an annual event military event organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense with events ranging from the famous Tank Biathlon to timed shooting events.

Huaiyi’s Team during the 2019 International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) championships. Image courtesy of the author.

The special operations brigade chose Li because he has extensive experience in shooting in various styles under the same rules the IAG adopted in 2021. The members selected for the competition trained with Li for approximately six months, focusing on accuracy, speed, and tactical planning. The members found the transition to the new shooting style difficult and had trouble in re-establishing muscle memory.

Li Huaiyi (center) with the PLA Special Ops Team. Image courtesy of the author.

Li Huaiyi’s shooting experience stems from his time training and participating in various shooting competitions in the United States from 2015 to 2019. He was a member of the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) during this time, where he participated in several matches. Li participated in the Stage 00 Quickly event in the 2018 U.S. National Championship and he also led a team that won nine awards at the 2019 World Championship. Li tried to join the PLA but was disqualified for unspecified reasons and appeared to be very nationalistic in an interview when discussing the subject.

Li during training of the Special Operations Brigade. Image courtesy of the author.

Analysis: Li training the members of the special operations brigade is indicative of many ways the PLA and other government entities will entice Chinese people to teach them in skills or areas where they are deficient.