Do Chinese street cops need more weapons? On the same day earlier this month that it was reported urban riot police in one southern city were undergoing training to use crossbows, a new program began in south-central China's Chongqing Municipality which, in addition to handguns and bulletproof vests, would see traffic police there equipped with machine guns every night after nine for the purpose of carrying out drunk driving and traffic violation spot checks.
Sina blogger Zhou Pengan who made the two-city connection above points out that current police firearm regulations make it illegal for machine guns to be used in routine traffic control work. The People's Police—quite different in nature from the People's Armed Police—Wikipedia entry puts the usage limit for lethal weapons at [to] “be used if necessary to stop violent riots, to lessen the overall loss of life, or to subdue surrounded but still resisting criminals. The regulations even governed use of sirens, police lights, and whistles.”
The latter news received quite a bit of coverage, and no shortage of discussion. Sina, via Kaysky.cn, did a poll [photos included] on support for gun-toting traffic police, the response choices for which read:
1) I don't support this. Driving and walking at gunpoint is just too terrifying.
2) I support this. It's in accordance with the law and at the same time establishes police authority and deters crime, adding to citizens’ sense of security.
Readers of one post on this at the WHXF bbs left the following select comments:
Writes one reader of the report at the NewsSSC bbs:
And the top comments left at Netease's report: