All websites: from now on, do not hype, do not comment, do not modify headlines, do not distribute bloody photographs, do not link to old stories, do not publish commentary, and use only official wire copy on news related to violent terror attacks, trouble caused by mental disorders, or police opening fire. (June 18, 2014)
Following a series of violent attacks, many attributed by the Chinese government to Uyghur “extremists” with “separatist” motives, a “year-long, ultra-tough, unconventional” crackdown on terrorism has security tightening throughout China. In some regions, police officers have been issued firearms for the first time in the history of the PRC, and officers’ use of these weapons under hazily defined regulations has been the cause of some controversy. The South China Morning Post reports:
China’s decision to ramp up the police’s use of guns against terrorists has come under fire after cases where officials were questioned for opening fire in the line of duty.
[…] A petitioner protesting about land compensation died in Yunnan in mid-May after being shot four times by a SWAT member.
[…] Yunnan’s public security bureau defended the killing, saying the man was endangering onlookers. However, residents and netizens decried the “excessive” use of force.
[…] China’s gun regulations are vague and security forces may need more training to effectively decide when – and who – to shoot, according to legal experts.
“The relevant regulations stipulating the choice of gun usage are not defined clearly enough,” Yu Lingyun, deputy department head of the Tsinghua University Faculty of Law, told the South China Morning Post today. [Source]
While so-called “terror attacks” have no doubt been on the rise in China, the country also frequently sees incidents of violence incontestably unrelated to separatism. State media coverage of police shooting-dead a man who had stolen a truck and taken two child hostages in Shandong this week put emphasis on the efficacy of gun-wielding security officials in dealing with violent criminals. Mental illness is also often cited as a possible cause for violent outbreaks in China.
Update: For an idea of how broad the regulations on officers’ use of weapons are currently, see China Law Translate’s translation of the PRC Regulations on the Use of Restraints and Weapons by People’s Police.
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