In China’s ongoing efforts to fight terrorism, the country began arming nearly 1.7 million policemen in April. For decades, most police officers patrolled China’s streets unarmed. One incident involving the police shooting an unarmed man during a dispute has triggered concerns that more training may be needed. Han Peng reports.
China arms policemen to fight war on terrorIn China's ongoing efforts to fight terrorism, the country began arming nearly 1.7 million policemen in April. For decades, most police officers patrolled China's streets unarmed. One incident involving the police shooting an unarmed man during a dispute has triggered concerns that more training may be needed. Han Peng reports.
With many police now carrying guns, some are raising questions about whether this makes the country safer. In Xinjiang, the frontline of China’s war on terror, shooting practice has become vital for every policeman. From defending key security compounds, to rapid response against terrorist attacks, their goal is to bring their level and precision of armed force, to the highest standards.
In cities across China, hundreds of thousands of policemen — who for decades patrolled the streets unarmed — are being trained in the use of firearms. In Beijing, police are now allowed to open fire on terrorists without warning.
A string of shooting incidents has triggered public concerns whether Chinese rank-and-file policemen are ready to carry guns. In Yunnan Province, an officer responded to a dispute between villagers by fatally shooting an unarmed man.
In Henan, two policemen brought a loaded gun to a kindergarten class for show-and-tell. The gun mistakenly went off, injuring four parents and one child. Altogether, four people have been mistakenly shot dead by police in less than three months since the new regulations were introduced.
Some experts insist that arming policemen is a step China has to take.
Strong regulations and legal training are highly necessary to make sure that the threat of terrorism will not be replaced by another bigger threat: the danger of power losing control.