By Lin Hsin-Yi, Epoch Times Staff, Sep. 18, 2010 -
Two months out from the 2010 Asia Games in Guangzhou, the capital of the Guangdong Province in south China, the city’s Public Security Bureau has laid down a new law which citizens say is as irksome as it will be ineffectual: that is, everyone who buys knives or similar instruments from now until the end of the Games will have to provide at least six pieces of personal information.
Like during other mass events organized by the authorities, before November 12 when the Games begin there will be frequent inspection points around the city with often onerous demands on passers-through, the prohibition of balloons, kites, sky lanterns and carrier pigeons, and a regime of stiff fines for incompliants.
The Guangzhou police announced the measures on August 21, titled “Notice to Enforce Safe Knife Management in Guangzhou.” It goes for cleavers, large fruit knives, craft knives, files, and ceramic knives; only approved vendors can sell them, and buyers need to yield their name, address, ID number, types of knives, number purchased, and intended use. The policy has currently been put into effect in a few districts.
The police will also be inspecting all inbound vehicles at checkpoints along major roads into Guangzhou during the Games.
User 9byte writes, “This is a government armed to the teeth, yet the ordinary people have to register to buy knives, I am really speechless.” Another user, Crazyman, writes, “In China, doing anything requires using ones real name; even getting home, one needs to use one’s real name. This is really the worst situation.”
Guangzhou attorney Tang Jingling believes the policy is overkill in terms of protecting social order. “It doesn’t do anything. Instead, the government is worsening its relation with the people. It seems to treat people as enemies… protecting itself from every citizen,” he said to Radio Free Asia.
During the World Expo, Shanghai carried out the same policy, saying that would “ensure that the 2010 World Expo would be carried out smoothly.”
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an unemployed Chinese man stabbed to death the father-in-law of the U.S. Olympic men’s volleyball coach in downtown Beijing, despite massive security measures which included more than 150,000 police patrolling the city.
The new regulations come on the tail end of a series of mass protests in Guangzhou, all of them against the authorities.
On August 12, 3000 workers from the Guangzhou Iron and Steel Company rallied to protest company reforms that infringed on their rights. Authorities mobilized armed police to dispel the workers.
On August 13, a few hundred riot police surrounded Xian Village in the Tianhe District, in attempts to demolish it. Violent fights broke out between the residents and the police who then released tear gas and injuring protesters.
Then, on August 20, a crowd gathered in front of the Guangzhou city government and demanded the mayor tear down a subway cooling tower.