Lei Min’s gentle demeanor and elegant appearance make it hard to believe she holds the record for climbing five floors of the exterior of a building with her bare hands, having completed the task in just 57 seconds in a competition between policewomen from around the world.
Not for nothing is she known as China’s No 1 special policewoman.
Lei joined the army in 1990, and became one of the country’s first batch of special policewomen the following year.
Among all the honors she received and the missions she took part in as a member of a female-only army SWAT team, one memory stands out.
“What impressed me most in my career as a special policewoman was the experience of serving as a trainer in Mauritius,” Lei said. “It was different from taking part in a mission, which was normal and routine and could be accomplished smoothly.”
In 1996 and 1997, she was sent to Mauritius to help train the island nation’s police force as a coach and team leader. This proved to be the most demanding period of her career, both physically and mentally.
“Back then, even in my early 20s, I was fully aware that being a trainer in a foreign land was not only an honor for me,” she said. “I knew that each and every move I made would reflect the level of expertise of China’s police force as a whole.”
To prepare for the challenges she would face, she stepped up the level and intensity of her training during those two years to enhance her ability at hand-to-hand combat.
“I would have felt I did not deserve to wear my uniform if I let any challenger beat me - and no one did, fortunately.”
Lei was highly praised by Mauritius’ then prime minister and the country’s police commissioner, and received the nation’s highest honor for police officers.
“The title of China’s No 1 special policewoman is recognition of my work, but there are many others who deserve the same praise and attention,” said Lei, 40, from Luzhou, Sichuan province.
After retiring from front-line missions, Lei became deputy director of the training department at the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force Academy in Chengdu, Sichuan.
She is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and has put forward a proposal concerning cooperation between the academy and local universities at the annual session.
The academy works with 11 universities, making use of their educational resources to enhance the development of future police officers.
“We send our teachers to these partner universities for training, or invite their teachers to teach at our academy, with the aim of giving our students the best education we can provide,” said Lei.
However, some proposals for further cooperation have become stuck at the negotiation stage.
“Governments at local levels should share resources with the army. This will help to cultivate the country’s future talents,” she said.