Beijing alarm over rise in illegal arms trading

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am


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SCMP, February 10, 2001: The Government is becoming increasingly alarmed over the rise in illegal weapons manufacturing and trading on the mainland.

Guangxi, along with four other western provinces - Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Tibet - is where the problem is seen as most serious, according to the Sanlian Weekly, a Shanghai-based magazine.

As part of a crackdown over the past two months, Guangxi armed police recently raided 60 illegal weapon manufacturing shops, seizing 240,000 weapons including handguns, rifles, moulds and tools.

But it is an ongoing struggle. Gun-running is as lucrative as drug-trafficking and often controlled by the same underground gangs. Triad activity was also increasing, the report said.

According to a cross-border crime expert quoted in the report, three drug-trafficking routes are being used for arms importing. One is the southern line that connects Vietnam, Burma and Hong Kong. Guns and other weapons are also being smuggled in from South Korea and the former Soviet Union.

Carrying a gun is illegal in China but in minority areas such as Tibet and Qinghai province, hunting guns are tolerated. Authorities are concerned these areas could start to manufacture guns.

The report said there was a growing arms trade around Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Tibet. Gun possession among militant minority groups has long concerned authorities.

In Hualong county in Qinghai province, guns 'made in Hualong' have become a national brand and have been used in robberies. Violent crime is on the rise, the report said.

Gun-wielding bank robbers killed seven people and wounded five in September in Hunan province in what the official Beijing Review called the most serious case of its kind since 1949.

Clara Li


manufacturing (n)the making of products

crackdown (n) severe or repressive measures

lucrative (adj)profitable

expert (n) a person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular field

tolerate (v) to allow something to exist or happen, even though one does not approve of it

Discussion points

How bad do you think the problem of illegal weapons manufacturing is?

What can be done to stamp it out?

Why is the problem bad on the mainland?

Edited by Catherine Chisholm

Illegal trading ...


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