BEIJING : Police in China are set to receive firearms training as part of a nationwide plan to boost armed patrols, state media said Tuesday, after a string of high-profile violent incidents.
China announced last month that it plans to roll out armed patrols across the country following a spate of violence, including a knife attack in the southwestern city of Kunming on March 1 which left 33 people dead. The country's stability-obsessed Communist leadership responds harshly to any perceived threats to its rule, but most members of its police force do not carry weapons.
‘The presence of armed police will enable immediate responses to emergencies and effectively combat violent crimes,’ Yan Zhengbin, a deputy director at China's Ministry of Public Security, was quoted by the state-run China Daily as saying.
Separately, officials in Jiangsu city in eastern China announced Monday that 4,000 armed police and 12,000 assisting personnel would patrol 13 cities across the province from May 1. The move follows the deployment of 1,000 armed police in the commercial hub of Shanghai on Sunday. China said last month that it would step up security in a number of cities, including the capitals of two restive western regions, Urumqi in Xinjiang and Lhasa in Tibet.
The knife attack in Kunming was blamed on militants from Xinjiang, home to the largely Muslim Uighur minority. China has strict handgun laws, and most violent crimes are committed with knives or home-made explosives. Last month an attacker in Changsha, in the central province of Hunan, stabbed five people to death before being shot dead by police following an argument in a market.