Posted by: Dark Defender | October 14, 2008

Chinese gun control shows limits of government’s power

I found this article really interesting and makes me think 2 things.

Chinas futile efforts at gun control.

China's futile efforts at gun control.

1) Gun control just doesn’t work. China is an authoritarian country with vast controls over its people, just owning a gun can land you in prison and gun crime is punishable by death! If gun control was going to work, it would here.  But it doesn’t:

China may be freer from gun crime than many nations, and official statistics show overall crime on a continuous down trend. Yet, these days, reports about gun crimes turn up as often as several times a week even in the tightly controlled state-run media. The reports are often brief, without much follow-up as cases progress. Still, the splashy gunfights, murders, gun-factory raids and smuggling busts that get reported contrast with China’s zero-tolerance stance on guns, and point to changes in criminals’ behavior.

2) The rise in the gun culture gives me hope for China moving becoming freer, not necessarily “democracy” as we see it, but freer in the sense of having a more limited role for the government.  As more people become armed or familiar with weapons, the more difficult and costly it will be for China to launch a pogrom against politically incorrect groups.  Having access to guns isn’t going to foment a revolution, I don’t really think the Chinese people want a revolution (no not even Tibet, the Dali Lama is only asking for special status ala Hong Kong), but more people being armed will serve to expose the limits of the all powerful government’s power and give that government pause before resorting to unjust force.



  1. :/

    You make me want to cry, but I will not insult . I promised to stop that here :
    Your logic is completely messed up though man!

  2. You could try explaining why you think my logic is messed up instead of using quasi insults like i make you “want to cry” or my logic is “completly messed up though man!”

    Id be much more impressed with that.

  3. After reading that article I almost think the Chinese have a bit of social schizophrenia going on.

  4. Thats fair.
    I think your logic in suggesting the gun control works well in authoritarian regimes is misleading.

    Authoritarin regimes simply hide the truth to present a better picture, much as more open ones do by manipulating the media. I think the logic you imply that strong punishments would alone be enough of a deterent is where the logic is messed up.

    The second bit of logic that does not work me is the secon part of your post where you suggest that the proliferation of guns marks a step closer to freedom for the chinese people. I consider America, once a great basiton of freedom for the individual to be on the verge of a fascist dictatorship, a land were gun control ownership is rife.

    I also firmly believe that a govenments control of the population is predominantly carried out through propoganda rather than the use of force; so more chinese having guns will make little difference, and small minority groups who step out of line will have the same fate, with or without guns. The chinese army is very big.

    It is just my theory, (and others) that chinese state control will see them dominiate the world in this new century. That in no small part is down to the chinese government and it’s forward planning to protect itself and its people.

    I found your association of guns and freedom a bit sad, guns have very little to do with freedom except in war.

    I am sorry that I that insulted you, which you are right, actually I did. It was very rude of me. While I disagree with your views quite strongly I respect the fact you let my post stand and replied to it in a far more mature manner than I originally commented. Freedom of speech is everyhing and I respect you for that.

  5. patricksperry: It does seem schizophrenic, the government officially banning guns yet doing weird things to encourage the gun culture, like children singing the national anthem with rifles and encouraging marksmanship. I think it’s a result of the PRCs revolutionary nature, the commies came to power through guerrilla warfare, how can they not glorify that? But they are no longer revolutionary they are an authoritarian regime, how can they approve of guerilla warfare? I think we have a similar contradiction here between celebrating the minutemen and being scared by modern militiamen. I wonder if other governments founded on revolution have similar contradictions?

  6. Omgdidisaythat:

    To your first point, let me clarify. I wasn’t saying that gun control works well in authoritarian regimes, I was saying if it was a policy which would work anywhere, this would be the place. I don’t think gun control is something that is going to work anywhere and was using China to illustrate that if they can impose all these draconian laws and still have big crime problems, how can liberals possibly expect it to work here?

    Your second point I find difficult to disagree with. Modernly propaganda is certainly the primary means that governments use to control their people. I think we live in a more “brave new world” than a “1984” kind of world (though 1984 is way better written).

    However I do think governments ultimately continue to rest on their monopoly on force. Tiananmen square being a good example of how when propaganda fails, governments will still play their trump card.

    I continue to believe an armed population provides some deterrent to the government resorting to its ultimate power, not when its survival is at stake but for lesser reasons. Having weapons raises the price to the government in using force, so they will be more likely to avoid force for less important things. For example in the 90s after Waco and Ruby Ridge, the FBI started training its agents to be more “sensitive” to militia types. I recall one standoff I think in Texas ending without bloodshed and with a formal “surrender ceremony”, obviously the FBI could have blown them away but the fact that they were armed and the Feds knew going after them could be costly, led to a more respectful approach.

    Obviously not the kind of victory that makes you want to sing, but remember in China, the government is involved in many more areas of peoples lives. I believe that by raising the cost of intervention in these minor areas, it will help carve out more areas of personal autonomy for the people. The government wont want to bother and pay the higher prices for enforcing trivial things. I hope, I could be wrong certainly. But I hope. As I said in the post I don’t think China will ever be a “democracy” as we think of it, but people getting more autonomy is certainly a good thing which we should welcome.

    Also thank you for the intelligent response, you made me really think and I appreciate that. I believe in free speech as well and your comments are always wecome.

  7. Thank you dark defender, I will add your blog to my favorites and visit again.

    Sort of connected, and I do not claim this is true , I do not know facts, but Naomi Wolf did an interview recently that I was linked to, it is quite worrying and as we are on the subject of freedom I thought I would link,

    If you think it is rubbish please delete this post.
    Maybe you will need guns after all.

  8. Great points Dark Defender. A few years back I met a woman that had, in her words, escaped the peoples paradise called China. She was elderly, and said that yes, things had become better, but that you still had to look over your shoulder virtually all of the time.

  9. patricksperry: If you stand against the system in American you can expect the same. If you do not stand against the state in China, then you will more than likely have no problems at all.

    It is the same. If you are not familiar with this problem in America, I would direct you to those who oppose the war in Iraq and the problems they have with the police and government.

    Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying China is better at all, just, alot more similar that our government or media admits.

  10. I have to think that you have not seen my blog then.
    I am anything but a “conformist.”

  11. I am anything but a “conformist.” – did not say you were old duck.

    Do you take part in those protests that normally end up with tear gas, rubber bullets and jail?

    I admire some of those people alot, the ones who know what they are doing.

  12. Nope, other than responding as a Paramedic. I really do not care for tear gas though, I can tell you that much! LOL!

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