Opinion editorials, reviews and personal essays
By Grace Deng
Chinese propaganda regularly cites America as a hotspot for gun violence.
In this case, Chinese propaganda isn’t wrong: there have been 154 mass shootings in America since the start of 2018. While the Chinese government does not release official gun violence numbers, a rare independent study found a total number of four mass shootings from 2000 to 2014—in a country where a fifth of the world’s population lives. America loses credibility as a world leader in human rights—namely, the right to being alive—when their gun control policy is more destructive than authoritarian China’s.
Gun policy in China is simple: private citizens can’t own guns. While there are a few exceptions, many SAS students say they’ve never even seen police with guns other than bank security. Meanwhile, Americans own half of the world’s guns despite being 5% of the world’s population.
Last month, the Chinese Embassy in Washington issued a notice warning Chinese tourists of “frequent shootings.” One in 315 Americans will die by gun assault (not including mass shootings). According to the National Safety Council and the National Center for Health Statistics data, guns kill Americans at a faster rate than car accidents, fire, and “any force of nature.”
Gun enthusiasts point to the proliferation of knife attacks in China, saying the violence will always move somewhere else. They cite the Kunming massacre of 2014, a terrorist attack driven by knife-wielding assailants at a railway station in China. But a lone man with a knife can not kill fifty people at a concert in Las Vegas.
Gun control in America is unlikely to change anytime soon. The NRA has a stranglehold on the GOP, and the chances of Democratic control over the Senate this year is bleak, despite recent optimism over flipping the House. All Americans can do is express dissent, a liberty Chinese citizens don’t get.
Recently, the Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times stated in an editorial that Americans should put the right to life above the right to gun ownership. When China can lord over America’s human rights abuses, it’s time to listen to reason.