-
Advertorial
-
FOCUS
-
Guide
-
Lifestyle
-
Tech and Vogue
-
TechandScience
-
CHTF Special
-
Nanhan
-
Futian Today
-
Hit Bravo
-
Special Report
-
Junior Journalist Program
-
World Economy
-
Opinion
-
Diversions
-
Hotels
-
Movies
-
People
-
Person of the week
-
Weekend
-
Photo Highlights
-
Currency Focus
-
Kaleidoscope
-
Tech and Science
-
News Picks
-
Yes Teens
-
Fun
-
Budding Writers
-
Campus
-
Glamour
-
News
-
Digital Paper
-
Food drink
-
Majors_Forum
-
Speak Shenzhen
-
Business_Markets
-
Shopping
-
Travel
-
Restaurants
-
Hotels
-
Investment
-
Yearend Review
-
In depth
-
Leisure Highlights
-
Sports
-
World
-
QINGDAO TODAY
-
Entertainment
-
Business
-
Markets
-
Culture
-
China
-
Shenzhen
-
Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth
Balloon stall vendor to face 2nd trial for gun crime
    2017-January-24  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    A TIANJIN balloon stall vendor, who was given three and a half years in jail for illegal gun possession, will stand a second trial Thursday, one day before the Spring Festival Eve.

    The sentence shocked the public and caused widespread debate about the criteria for legally defining guns.

    Along with 12 other stall owners, Zhao Chunhua, 51, was detained Oct. 12 last year. At her balloon-shooting stall, the police discovered six replica guns powerful enough to meet the strict legal definition of a firearm.

    According to a 2010 Ministry of Public Security document on firearms identification, unauthorized guns able to fire bullets with a force of over or equal to 1.8 joules per square centimeter are considered illegal firearms. The force of the six guns owned by Zhao ranged from 2.17 to 3.14 joules per square centimeter, exceeding the statutory standard, the court said.

    After Zhao was sentenced to three and a half years in prison Dec. 27, the case sparked hot debates nationwide. Netizens vented their frustrations with the law online, with many wondering whether their kitchen implements should be seen as deadly weapons.

    “My mother had no idea the replica guns could be classified as firearms,” Wang Yanling, Zhao’s daughter, told the media.

    Living with her daughter in a shabby apartment near a disused factory, single mother Zhao earned 3,000 yuan (US$433) per month at her balloon stall.

    Insiders said four vendors were still in the detention center and eight were released on bail pending trials after the Spring Festival holiday.

    Zhang Jing, mother of a 27-year-old detained vendor, said her son had started his balloon-shooting stall after seeing other balloon-shooting vendors thriving and that her son had only been in business for one month. “My son spent 5,000 yuan buying the air guns, plastic bullets and balloons. He had only made back 2,000 yuan before he was detained.”

    At Zhang’s son’s stall, the police found three replica guns powerful enough to meet the strict legal definition of a firearm. Zhang said all the vendors’ guns were purchased from a man who came to the stalls from time to time but he disappeared recently.

    China has strict laws for the possession of weapons, and in 2010, regulations were expanded to prohibit any gun that has a muzzle energy above 1.8 joules per square centimeter, including air guns firing plastic pellets, while previous regulations in 2001 allowed replica guns of up to 16 joules per square centimeter. The new rule is based on the logic that any gun that can cause death or injury — including injury to the most vulnerable body parts, such as the eyes — should be considered a weapon.

    Many other countries have less restrictive definitions: Canada, for example, exempts air guns that have less than 5.7 joules of muzzle energy from possession rules under the Firearms Act, though other laws may apply.

    “The current legal definition of guns is too strict for people to understand. Both Zhao and the public believe those guns are toys,” said Peng Xinlin, deputy director of the criminal law research center at Beijing Normal University. “Although the court has done everything according to the law, this case’s verdict could have a negative impact on society,” he added.

    Zhao’s plight echoed the case of the 20-year-old Liu Dawei in southeastern China’s Fujian Province, who was given life imprisonment in 2015 for purchasing 24 replica guns online. Police deemed 20 of the guns as real guns powered by compressed gas. The provincial higher people’s court ordered a retrial in October 2016 after the case caused widespread discussion.

    Zhao’s case has added fire to an ongoing controversy about the nation’s gun laws and experts are urging an amendment to the rules on replica guns. Beijing lawyer Xu Xin who represented Liu also represented Zhao for her second trial free of charge due to Zhao’s economic situation.

    “In Zhao’s case, we should focus on our country’s standard of defining a gun. I hope in 2017, our definition of a gun could be changed back to the 16 joules per square centimeter in its muzzle energy. Meanwhile, the punishment for possessing replica guns should differ from real guns.”

    Xu said: “The Tianjin court set the date for Zhao’s second trail right before the Spring Festival, which might indicate a positive result for us. But the Fujian court has not yet set a date for Liu’s retrial. I guess they might adopt a wait-and-see attitude.”

    After receiving the notification from the court for the second trial, Zhao’s daughter said: “Every cloud has its silver lining. I’m very excited because we will probably win the case this week. Now I will buy new clothes for my mom and welcome her back to spend the Chinese New Year with me!”(SD News)

深圳报业集团版权所有, 未经授权禁止复制; Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn