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Armed violence prevention, gun control laws and the small arms trade:

China — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in China is

2017: 49,735,0001
2007: 40,000,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

ChartThe estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in China is

2017: 3.601
2007: 4.92

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, China ranked at No. 33

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, China ranked at No. 1022

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in China is reported to be

2017: 680,0001
2007: 680,0002

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in China is 0.054

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in China there are estimated to be

2017: 49,055,0001

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of China are reported to have 27,466,4005 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In China, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms6

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in China are reported to have 1,971,0007 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn China, annual homicides by any means total

2014: 10,0838
2013: 10,640
2012: 11,286
2011: 12,015
2010: 13,4109 10
2009: 14,667
2008: 14,811
2007: 16,119
2006: 17,973
2005: 20,770
2004: 24,711
2003: 24,393
2002: 26,276

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn China, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2014: 0.748
2013: 0.78
2012: 0.83
2011: 0.89
2010: 1
2009: 1.1
2008: 1.1
2007: 1.29 10 11
2006: 1.4
2005: 1.6
2004: 1.9
2003: 1.9
2002: 2.0
2001: 2.1611
2000: 2.25
1999: 2.19
1998: 2.23
1997: 2.14
1996: 2.11
1995: 2.27

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

In China, annual male homicides by any means total

2010: 10,47312

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

In China, annual female homicides by any means total

2010: 2,93712

Suicides (any method)

In China, annual suicides by any means total

1999: 178,67513

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

In China, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

1999: 13.7013

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In China, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence14

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, China was ranked 'major'15

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In China, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law16 17 18 19

Firearm Exports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from China is reported by manufacturers to be

2017: 1,94020
2016: 349
2015: 100
2014: 3
2013: 329
2012: 329
2011: 310
2009: 648
2008: 25,251
2007: 19,606
2006: 2,456

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from China is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 57,914,38821
2015: 63,454,774
2014: 46,871,214
2013: 68,480,066
2012: 56,520,56021 22 23
2011: 19,344,55024
2010: 89,000,00025
2001: 10,000,00022

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, China was categorized as 'major'26 27 28 29 30

Firearm Imports

In China, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law16

Firearm Imports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to China is reported to be

2017: 34220
2016: 62
2015: 17
2014: 83
2013: 8
2012: 3
2011: 110
2010: 106
2009: 363
2008: 59
2007: 370

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to China is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 10,087,19421
2015: 4,749,459
2014: 3,735,179
2013: 3,036,293
2012: 5,603,674
2011: 5,513,49624 31

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in China is moderate32 33

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In China, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law34

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in China include35 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, China scored

2018: 8.2536
2016: 7.0037
2014: 7.0038
2013: 6.5039
2012: 7.0040
2011: 8.0041
2010: 8.0042
2009: 7.5043
2008: 7.5044
2007: 7.5045
2006: 7.5046
2005: 7.5047
2004: 7.5048

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in China is categorised as restrictive49

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in China includes the Law on the Control of Firearms 1996,50 Firearm Regulation and the Public Security Organs51 32

Right to Possess Firearms

In China, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law52 53 54

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In China, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearms55

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In China, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited55 56

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In China, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited55

Regulation of Handguns

In China, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted for hunting with permission only32 56

Law Regulates Long Guns

In China, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law56

Gun Ownership and Possession

In China, no civilian (private ownership prohibited, Govt.-issued firearms are allocated to those in genuine need)57 58 55 56 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in China are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, sports shooting, animal control (strictly restricted)58

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in China must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and domestic violence32 56 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In China, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required54

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in China stipulates32 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In China, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required59 for a firearm licence

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in China are permitted to possess only the nature and number of firearms distributed by the State57 55

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In China, the law requires60 61 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In China, licensed firearm dealers are required60 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In China, State agencies are required60 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In China, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited14 55

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In China, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful14 55

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In China, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to the number of firearms and ammunition specified in the special permit issued by the public security organs under the people's government at provincial level14

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In China, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined54

Regulation of Gun Shows

In China, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated55 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in China include62 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in China do not include54 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in China include63 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in China include64 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In China, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law65 66

Firearm Tracing

In China, state authorities carry out67 68 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In China, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not54 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In China, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed without a permit (with some restrictions)32 56

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In China, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed without a permit, with some restrictions32 56

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In China, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm69 is up to two years in prison70

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in China are known to have71 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Surrendered in Gun Amnesty

In China, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

2014: 150,00072

Small Arms Destroyed

In China, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 291,00071 (2005-08), 100,00073 (2012), and 130,00074 (2013)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In China, it is state policy71 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists75 China as an elected member

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was not signed76 by China.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed77 by China

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed, but not yet ratified78 by China

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, China committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects79

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored China against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 4280 81 82 83 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, China has submitted one or more national reports84 68 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In China, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated85 68

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In China, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated68

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of China submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent68

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated68 by China to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided68 to China by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, China has not declared86 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, China has been a Member State of the United Nations since 194587

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list88 China as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

For a profile of conflict in China, select the Link icon to open an external web page from the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia at Uppsala University

Global Peace Index

To see where China ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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