China will deploy more armed police across the country to respond to emergencies and combat violent crime, the China Daily newspaper reported.
Police with handguns will patrol city streets as well as railway stations, airports, shopping malls, schools and hospitals, the paper said today, citing Yan Zhengbin, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security’s management bureau.
The increased use of armed police comes after a knife attack at a railway station in the south-west city of Kunming on March 1 that killed 29 people. That assault, days before the annual meeting of the legislature in Beijing, highlighted growing social unrest at a time of widening inequality and increasing tensions between the state and ethnic groups such as the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.
Ten people were detained after a clash with urban security officers, known as chengguan, on April 19 in eastern Wenzhou, the local government news portal said on its website yesterday.
“The presence of armed police will enable immediate responses to emergencies and effectively combat violent crimes,” the paper quoted Yan as saying. The ministry will arrange for police nationwide to receive training on firearms and to regulate their use, Yan said.
More than 1,000 policemen started carrying revolvers on patrol in Shanghai, the official Xinhua News agency reported April 20. A total of 4,000 armed officers will patrol in the eastern Jiangsu province from May 1, the China Daily said.
China’s Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun called for stability in Xinjiang, Xinhua reported today. Guo, who said precautionary measures were needed to fight against terrorism in the area, toured the province earlier this week, Xinhua said.
Police in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, seized more than 400 counterfeit guns and 230,000 bullets from a store at a wholesale toy market and warehouse, Xinhua separately reported. The guns can be loaded with bullets and cause damage, Xinhua said, citing Tang Liang, a spokesman with the Sayibak district bureau of public security in Urumqi.
In China, police are now allowed to fire guns if repeated warnings are ignored during 15 different types of emergencies, the China Daily said. These include arson, murder, hostage taking, hijacking of aircraft and theft of ammunition, it said, citing national regulations.
— With assistance by Henry Sanderson