South China Morning Post, Hong Kong

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'Imagine if Chinese Had Access to Guns' Like Americans Do! (Huanqiu, China)


Is American society in chaos because of easy access to firearms? According to this surprising editorial from China's state-run Huanqiu, given the number of guns in the United States, the number of fatalities is relatively low. This, according to the newspaper, is thanks to the capacity of Americans for self-governance - a skill that the editorial candidly states, the people of China do not have.




Translated By John Chen


September 26, 2013


People's Republic of China - Global Times - Original Article (Chinese)

Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old military contractor from Texas, said to be behind America's latest mass shooting.

RUSSIA TODAY NEWS VIDEO: Guns Control or no gun control?, Feb. 24, 00:25:35RealVideo

At the Washington Navy Yard on September 16, a shooting occurred that killed 13 people including the gunman, and 14 were people wounded. The 34-year-old attacker was a former Navy reservist and military subcontractor.


After the attack, U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the shooter as a "coward."


Shooting incidents have long been a source of pain in America. This recurring issue has brought about a long running debate within U.S. society, but no progress has been made in addressing it. For those of us on the outside, observing the gun issue offers a unique window into American society.


After a major shooting, U.S. presidents tend to deliver heart-stirring addresses to the public, but no concrete and resolute measures to resolve the problem ever follows these words. So as society watches these events repeatedly occur, expectations of legislative actions diminish, and people question whether addressing the problem is the responsibility of government at all. As a whole, American society accepts that government is unaccountable on this issue, so people don't expect it "to do something."


America attitudes toward gun control are highly fragmented, with one side opposed to any controls at all, no matter how many shootings occur. Advocates of gun control are fragmented even amongst themselves. Hence, the confrontation between the opposing groups makes progress impossible. Gun control is a "hot potato," and the U.S. presidents may at most strike a pose and stay respectfully aloof.


If gun control were to be carried out, bringing the 270 million guns in the possession of civilians under effective control would be a major social reform bringing substantial benefits. However, beyond affecting personal habits and enhancing security, it would also touch on the huge economic interests involved in the production and sale of firearms. Outsiders may find this a little strange: with guns responsible for so many deaths, isn't gun control a natural response?


The fact is that in the U.S., it is much more complicated than that.


First - because there are so many shootings, one might assume that American society is in chaos. The United States is more of a "self-governing" society that holds to "small government." In fact, considering the 270 million guns scattered among the people, 100,000 people shot every year and about 14,000 killed by gunshot wounds is relatively low.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


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The differences between American and Chinese societies are huge. Chinese expect the role of government to be big, and for it to take on as much responsibility as possible. While some people in China say they want government to be small, they are not being honest, because in fact, people sometimes say government should be big, and at other times, they say it should be big. There is no clear rule on this, and obviously, it is a very confusing issue.


Firearms are strictly prohibited among Chinese civilians, but the number of homemade bombs and weapons is not low. The fact is, however, that Chinese lack a sufficient capacity for self-governance and it is up to government to fill the gap. In China, the administrative costs associated with maintaining the same level of societal security as the United States are higher.



Imagine what would happen if Chinese civilians were permitted to own guns! Look at what occurred after the stabbing incident involving Chinese students. The Chinese public demanded that the government take fast and decisive action. In the U.S., however, even after repeated shootings on college campuses and public places, society remains relatively calm. Observing this, one quickly concludes that the two countries have vastly different structures for social governance.


America has its way of doing things, and so does China. Whatever happens, neither side should engage in schadenfreude. Both sides should show sympathy toward and try to draw lessons from the other. One this is clear: the maintenance of peace and stability in society is what matters most.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Sept. 25, 2013, 3:49am