Association News: August 2001
By Larry Pratt
And now — as they used to say on the old “Monty Python” TV show —something completely different. The Information Office of Communist China’s State Council has issued a report — U.S. Human Rights Record 2000 — criticizing human rights in America.
That’s right. The country where Communism has killed an estimated 100 million people, the country whose leader, Mao Tse-tung, was once listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as history’s greatest mass murderer, is complaining about human rights in our country.
And — surprise! — one of the things the Red Chinese don’t like about our country is that many of our citizens keep and bear arms. In a section about the ways in which our freedoms are supposedly in jeopardy, it is said: “The United States, the only country where carrying a private weapon is a constitutional right, is a society ridden with violence.... The excessive number of privately owned guns has resulted in countless gun-related assaults, resulting in tragedy for many innocent people.”
OK. So, what is there to say about this breath-taking hypocrisy on the part of the Chinese Communists regarding human rights? Well, the first thing is that, ironically — unlike the Liberal gun-grabbers in our country — the Red Chinese at least acknowledge that private America citizens do have a Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.
But, of course, their report says nothing at all about the fact that as many as 2,500,000 of us, annually, use guns in self-defense to protect our lives, the lives of our family and friends, and our property. Why was this information omitted? This report doesn’t say. So, we contacted the Communist Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC to ask why, and other questions. Here’s the way our interview went with Yuan Yuan Zhang, press spokesman for the Red Chinese government:
Q: Is there a constitutional right to keep and bear arms for private citizens in your country?
A: Certainly not.
Q: Is it illegal in your country for private citizens to keep and bear arms?
A: It is not — one has to get a permit to carry weapons. Of course some people carry weapons because of their official duties such as policemen or soldiers.
At this point, Zhang tells how four or five years ago in suburban Peking some private people had guns to shoot pheasants and rabbits. But, “later on the government asked them to surrender their weapons, actually purchased back their weapons,” he says, laughing. “Purchased back”?! Strange phraseology here since the government never owned these guns.
Q: So, why were these guns confiscated by your government?
A: Well, sometimes you had a weapon in your closet and then someone stole it and that may uhhhh, you know, cause some trouble.... Sometimes people just make their own rifles from makeshift shops and turn out some kind of very primitive type of gun.
Q: And what happens if a person does this, if a person has a gun but no government permit?
A: That’s a crime. That’s a big crime.
Q: Does a big crime mean a fine and jail?
A: Yes! It would be dealt with in accordance with the criminal code.
Zhang explains that his government bans the private ownership of guns to ensure “the social tranquility and safety and security of the population.” This is why they “confiscate or buy-back” weapons possessed by private persons.
Q: Why does your report make no mention of the fact that as many as 2,500,000 Americans use guns every year in self-defense?
A: I have a sense we are going to have a very long conversation. I have to go. I have a lunch engagement in three minutes.
Q: Are you aware that millions of Americans use guns in self-defense every year?
A: Yes. I am aware of that. I’ve been in this country for many years. I know people use guns principally to defend themselves. But even very decent citizens who have guns at home may sometimes find that their weapons have been put to, you know, very wrong use —good things in the wrong hands, you know.
Q: And sometimes people in the government who have guns put them to wrong use, too. Did you know that?
A: (After long pause) Of course I know that. Sure. But, Zhang adds: “We are not challenging the Constitutional right in the U.S. We’re just presenting the basic facts. Yours is the only country in the world that the Constitution allows its citizens to carry guns.”
Q: But, why does your report leave out the basic fact that many, many times more Americans use guns for good things, like self-defense, than use guns for bad things?
A: [Our report] is not intended to be a very, very exhaustive study of gun issues. It is just a short article trying to tell people the human rights situation in the United States. It is not perfect. We may be wrong about this gun-related matter. But we see this as one of the areas in which we think the American peoples’ human rights are in jeopardy because of this excessive ownership of guns.
Q: Are you aware that America won its freedom and independence because, among other things, many of our private citizens had guns? Do you know this?
A: Of course I know that. And you know Chairman Mao’s famous quotation?
Q: Yes. He said that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.
A: We needed guns to fight back the Japanese invaders. We have 100 million men in our militias with guns.
Q: But, your point about Chairman Mao’s quotation is very interesting. He said what he said when he was a private citizen and not a member of the government, right?
Q: So, under your present laws, Chairman Mao would not have been allowed to have guns!
A: I’m trying to figure out your point.
End of interview.
In their book Lethal Laws (Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership, 1994) — which is about how “gun control” has been the key to genocide in many countries throughout history — authors Jay Simkin, Aaron Zelman and Alan M. Rice note that just as in Nazi Germany “gun control” was the key to Mao Tse-tung’s genocide, especially during the so-called “Great Leap Forward” (1957-60). At this time, “the government’s imposition of policies that promoted massive rural starvation plainly depended on its monopoly of armed force.”
Communist China’s first “gun control” law was enacted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on October 22, 1957. Article 9 barred the unauthorized making, purchasing, possession, repair, or use of firearms or ammunition “in contravention of safety provisions.”
On September 2, 1983, the Second Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People’s Congress approved a law titled “On Severely Punishing Criminals Who Gravely Endanger Public Security of the Society.” This law stated: (1) The following criminals who gravely endanger public security of the society may be punished more heavily than the severest punishment currently stipulated in the Criminal Law, and may be punished by the death penalty.
And who might some of these “criminals” be who deserve death? Among those listed in this law: “A person who illegally makes, trades, transports, steals or purloins weapons, ammunition or explosives in a particularly serious way or with serious consequences.”
But, of course, what really endangers the security and freedom of a people is when the only ones who are legally allowed to keep and bear arms are those who work for the State. This way lies true tyranny. We must hope and pray this never happens in America.
[Larry Pratt is Executive Director of Gun Owners of America located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151 and at http://www.gunowners.org on the web.]
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