Draft law out­lines ap­pro­pri­ate use of guns by po­lice of­fi­cers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is so­lic­it­ing public opin­ion about a draft law that would give po­lice more author­ity to use guns, as well as out­line the cir­cum­stances when such use would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

According to the draft, po­lice could use guns af­ter their warn­ings are ig­nored if the sus­pects are se­ri­ously en­dan­ger­ing na­tional and public se­cu­rity, if they en­dan­ger peo­ple’s lives or if they try to es­cape.

In ad­di­tion, if sus­pects at­tack armed po­lice or if armed po­lice are in danger of being at­tacked, or if the sus­pects violently re­sist or block po­lice from legally car­ry­ing out their du­ties, po­lice can use their guns.

“The amended draft law pro­vides a le­gal ba­sis for po­lice of­fi­cers to use weapons when han­dling some emer­gen­cies,” said Li Wei, a lawyer from the Beijing Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion.

“It clearly reg­u­lates when po­lice of­fi­cers can use guns, which will ef­fec­tively pre­vent them abus­ing weapons and will en­sure jus­tice,” Li said.

The Min­istry of Public Se­cu­rity will be col­lect­ing sug­ges­tions on its web­site un­til the end of this month, and the draft will later be sub­mit­ted to the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress for dis­cus­sion and ap­proval.

According to the draft, when po­lice dis­cover sus­pects are preg­nant or are children, when the sus­pects are in a public place, or where flammable, ex­plo­sive or poi­sonous ar­ti­cles are being kept, offi- cers shouldn’t use guns.

More­over, when sus­pects stop and fol­low po­lice di­rec­tion, or they can no longer at­tack, po­lice should not use guns.

In re­cent years, some po­lice of­fi­cers have abused their power and shot sus­pects, caus­ing heated public de­bate about whether guns were used in a proper man­ner.

“Reg­u­lat­ing the use of guns re­flects hu­man­i­tar­i­an­ism and flex­i­ble law en­force­ment,” said Cheng Lei, a law pro­fes­sor from Ren­min Univer­sity of China.

“Such a reg­u­la­tion shows both the ne­ces­sity to use weapons and the con­trol needed to re­duce dam­age,” said Xiong Qi­uhong, a re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences’ law in­sti­tute.

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