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Police destroy illegal weapons in Tangshan, Hebei province, on Tuesday, in a campaign launched in 150 cities. Photo by Wang Jing / China Daily
Police in 150 Chinese cities destroyed more than 100,000 illegal guns on Tuesday, as part of an ongoing crackdown that officials say is dramatically reducing gun-related crime across the country.
As Ministry of Public Security officials also prepared to dispose of a further 250 tons of illegal explosives in the next few days, Vice-Minister of Public Security Huang Ming said the incidence of both crimes has been declining rapidly.
Gun-related crime has fallen 46 percent year-on-year, while the number of explosive crime has also dropped by 39 percent, according to the ministry.
A large portion of the guns destroyed on Tuesday were seized by police during raids, while others were handed in by citizens, police said.
Half of the guns were confiscated during the national campaign targeting illegal guns and explosives, which started in February and which continues until December.
So far, police have smashed more than 180 criminal organizations and detained 7,800 suspects involved in the illegal possession of guns and explosives in the crackdown.
Huang said gun-related crime poses a serious threat to public safety and strict control on firearms is essential to maintain public safety.
He added that many of the crimes being committed using firearms are closely connected to gangs, drug trafficking, gambling or other serious crime.
"Gun smuggling is serious at border areas, and one of the reasons contributing to rising levels of violent crime in these areas," he said.
In one particular joint initiative by police from China and the United States, 26 suspected gun smugglers were caught and 105 guns, a large quantity of gun parts, and at least 50,000 bullets were seized.
In Shanghai on Tuesday, the municipal police department destroyed nearly 8 tons of illegal guns and explosives. Steamrollers crushed 800 imitation guns, 300 guns and 2,200 knives.
"The public has shown great understanding and support for the campaign targeting illegal firearms. Most were handed over by people," said Yao Zhirong, deputy chief of Shanghai municipal public security bureau.
"China is currently one of the countries with the lowest incidences of firearms crimes, compared with many other countries," added Liu Shaowu, director of security management at the Ministry of Public Security.
In the United States, more than 30,000 residents are killed and another 200,000 were injured in firearm violence on average annually, he said.
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Zhou Wenting in Shanghai contributed to this story.