Chinese Media Digest - Sunday, December 16 Published: 2012-12-16 18:16:43

Keywords: US school shooting resurrects gun control debate, Chinese media laments lack of campus violence coverage

US school shooting resurrects gun control debate

US authorities released the names of the victims of a deadly school shooting in Connecticut on Saturday, in which 28 people were killed, including 20 students.

The shooting at Newtown Elementary School came as a shock to the world and immediately set off discussions about gun control in the US throughout Chinese media.

The People's Daily explained that various factors such as cultural traditions, values, legal rights and interest groups further complicate the gun control issues in the US.

"There are more gun owners in the US than in any other nation in the world, and some in the US worry that their nation's second constitutional amendment ensuring the "right to bear arms" is under attack any time gun control legislation is proposed," the paper quoted Yuan Zheng, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as saying.

"In the US, which values individualism, any move regarded as an encroachment on individual freedom rarely wins support from the population," Yuan told the People's Daily. At the same time, Yuan explained that such mass shootings force US society to address gun control and politicians to clarify their stance on the issue. However it's difficult to say whether this would result in any substantial gun control measures.

Similarly, published a piece on Sunday saying that the US prides itself on protecting human rights, while at the same time upsets the world by intervening in other nations' affairs by resorting to sanctions or by force.

The school shooting exposed the lack of campus security and the potential threats students face. "When children, the hope of a nation, are attacked, it signals a gloomy future,"said the article.

Lax gun regulation in the US has led to an increased number of unlicensed gun owners in recent years, posing a greater security risk to schools. "School shootings occurring shows the situation of human rights there is at its worst," said the article.

Beijing Youth Daily held in its editorial piece on Sunday that juveniles make easy prey for those who want to take revenge on society or express their extreme political stance, as was the case for the shooting spree in Oslo, Norway last July.

The editorial also commented that in a country with "such a tradition of social welfare", such violence against minors does not necessarily reflect "a nation's system or condition".

The article suggested people across the world take "meaningful and effective" action to guard against such violence against children on campuses.

Chinese media laments lack of campus violence coverage

The reluctance of the Chinese government to release details regarding the mass stabbing at a school in Henan Province on Friday morning stood in sharp contrast to the widespread coverage of the US school shooting in Sandy Hook, Conneticut, triggering media debate.

A total 22 children and one adult were injured in the knife attack at the entrance of Chenpeng Village Primary School in Guangshan county, Xinyang on Friday morning. Police apprehended the suspect, 36-year-old Min Yingjun, who they believe may suffer from mental illness.

On the same day, 28 people were shot dead, including 20 primary students, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, US.

The Xinhua News Agency pointed out that when compared to the detailed news released by on the US school shooting, the uncooperative attitude of the local government in Guangshan county, namely refusing interviews and attempting to block reports, is a true disappointment to the public.

"Rather than actively looking for solutions to handle the stabbing case, local government officials were more occupied with trying to keep their jobs," said a post on its official Tencent Weibo account.

Echoing Xinhua's post, the People's Daily also posted a comment on their Sina Weibo account saying that media should not be selective in their reporting, as cases involving violence against children are important no matter where they occur.  The post called for people not to wait until violence occurs to address and criticize school security issues. 

An attack like the Henan stabbing was inevitable considering the lack of security at public schools, opined the Beijing News.

The piece also held that the security at grassroots schools, especially those in rural areas, often does not meet government standards, while local governments do not seem to attach much weight to school security.

The commentary called for rural schools to double their security efforts, including setting up a strict monitoring system and having police patrol schools morning and afternoon like urban-area campuses.


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