The fatal shooting shocked many in China, which has some of the world's strictest gun control laws -- so much so, that some people thought initial reports were about yet another American shooting. "When my friend told me about the shooting, I thought it was the United States," one person wrote on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Another user wrote, "Using a gun to kill people in China? Am I watching an American movie?"
That disbelief widely reflects how rare gun crime is in China -- in contrast to it being a daily reality in the US. The two countries stand on opposite ends of the spectrum of gun control, with the right to bear arms legally protected and vehemently defended in one, and a near-total ban on civilian firearm ownership in the other. The difference is stark when it comes to public safety. Despite being the world's most populous country, with 1.4 billion residents, China only records a few dozen gun crimes a year. And more broadly, violent crime has continued falling, reaching its lowest level in 20 years in 2020, according to state-run news outlet Xinhua.