Monday, 23 August 2010

Seemingly Good Intentions

OK folks listen up -- if you want to buy a knife and happen to be in Guangzhou then you'll have to register your name as part of security measures for the upcoming Asian Games in November.

This means kitchen knives, big fruit knives, craft knives and files are "dangerous" and people should only buy them from authorized vendors.

The Guangzhou Public Security Bureau website says buyers should show vendors their identity cards or certification from employers if they want to buy knives. Vendors, who would need to get a license to sell the knives, must write down the buyer's personal information, the type and quantity of knives bought and give this information to local police once a week. They would also need to tell the police if the buyers behaved strangely or appeared to have mental problems.

It alludes to the string of random knife attacks in the spring in China, killing and injuring many children as well as adults. While the police claimed the attackers had mental problems, there were no medical checks or proof after the fact to show they really were psychologically disturbed.

This is a draft regulation that is seeking public feedback until Wednesday before revising it. If approved by the municipal government, it would go into effect November 1 to the end of the year.

All these rules just create a drag on everyone rather than really getting to the real issue. This means there will be a buying frenzy of knives before November 1 and if someone wants to go on a bloody rampage, what's to stop them from stealing another person's knife or using one they already have.

It just reveals how incompetent security officials are in thinking ahead about security issues as well as tackling the issue of mental illness in China. They have already branded them as criminals without trying to understand what their problem is and giving them the proper treatment; and makes the public fearful of anyone who may seem strange to them.

Hardly seems progress for a country that has a president pushing for a "harmonious society". Seems more like a fractious one.

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