China. There are few countries I find as intriguing as them. There are also few countries whose governments I loathe nearly as much as theirs.
As we’ve seen over and over, China is still a totalitarian nation that just looks like a free market bastion. Worse, while they tend to pretend they’re superior over things like so-called gun violence, they’re not immune to it, as we saw last week.
Over at CNN, they made note of that shooting. They also decided to compared and contrast the US and China when it comes to guns.
Last week, a 47-year-old man stormed into a law firm in China’s Wuhan city and shot dead a lawyer who he had “some disputes with,” according to Chinese state media. He then stuffed his gun, just under 20 inches (50 centimeters) long, into a tennis racket bag and left.
The fatal shooting shocked many in China, which has some of the world’s strictest gun control laws — so much so, that some people thought initial reports were about yet another American shooting.
“When my friend told me about the shooting, I thought it was the United States,” one person wrote on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Another user wrote, “Using a gun to kill people in China? Am I watching an American movie?”
That disbelief widely reflects how rare gun crime is in China — in contrast to it being a daily reality in the US.
Meanwhile, the US reports hundreds of mass shootings with four or more victims every year, with more than 475 such incidents recorded so far in 2021 — not to mention many more gun deaths like suicides. Though there have been growing calls for gun control across the country, violent crime in general is on the rise — major cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year, in a crime surge that has continued this year.
No, there haven’t been that many mass shootings. Those numbers come from the Gun Violence Archive, which uses an extremely broad definition of “mass shooting” in order to inflate the numbers to terrifying proportions. It counts any incident where three or more people are shot, not killed, and it doesn’t differentiate between shootings that come out of the blue or those associated with other criminal activity.
What Gun Violence Archive banks on is that people will see the number, then think of shootings like Parkland or Las Vegas, then get really, really scared and demand gun control.
The actual number of what people think of as “mass shootings” aren’t even close to what CNN claims.
Anyway, moving on…
China frequently draws this comparison, using America’s crime rate to accuse the country of hypocrisy and ineffective governance, while downplaying its own rare incidents. For instance, the police statement on the Wuhan shooting avoided any mention of the gun, only saying the attacker had “wounded” an employee.
State-run media outlets, meanwhile, have published dozens of articles about shootings in the US in the past few months alone. In 2019, nationalist tabloid Global Times touted China’s effective gun control as “a lesson for (the) US.” More recently, a Xinhua editorial in June called the US a “double-dealer” for criticizing other countries on human rights grounds while failing to tackle its own “raging gun crimes.”
The two countries’ opposite approaches are especially striking given both nations were born from armed insurrection — the US winning its independence in the Revolutionary War in 1783, and the Chinese Communist Party establishing the People’s Republic of China in 1949 after a lengthy rebellion against the Nationalist government.
But their attitudes diverged from there, with the US enshrining the right to bear arms in the Constitution, arguing that this right, and a “well regulated militia,” were “necessary to the security of a free state.”
But it’s not just the two nations’ stances on guns that sit on polar ends of a spectrum.
For example, the United States isn’t currently herding an entire ethnic population into concentration camps and forcefully sterilizing the women of that ethnic group.
The United States isn’t harvesting organs out of politically unpopular groups.
Nor do we try to control information the way China does. Above where CNN mentioned Weibo? That’s a version of Twitter that’s permitted for Chinese people Twitter is locked out for most Chinese folks. That’s because China wants complete control over the flow of information. Forget freedom of the press. It’s not a thing in the PRC.
Those are only a small fraction of the differences on which the United States and China stand on polar opposites, and you know why? Guns.
Don’t try to tell me that the government would never do any of these things. Our government has done plenty of shady stuff when they thought they could get away with it. They’d do worse if they could. I mean, President Joe Biden wants to monitor any bank account with more than $600 in it, for crying out loud. Don’t tell me no one in government would love to have that degree of control.
Oh, they’d say they’d use it for good, but I’m pretty sure the Chinese government tells themselves the same thing.
Yet no one makes a move. No one really tries to do this kind of thing. Why? Because we have the Second Amendment. We have the right to keep and bear arms and China doesn’t. We have an armed society. While that degree of freedom may have some associated mess, I’d much rather have the problems associated with too much liberty than not enough.
CNN left that out of their story, unsurprisingly.