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This article series is usually RF’s domain, but my buddy, “Lost Lamb,” turned me onto this story from his ancestral homeland of China (that’s a video link). As it turns out, the People’s Republic of China isn’t big on gun rights, heavily restricting even airsoft guns and other toys that we would never, ever, even in the worst imaginable scenario of “common sense” gun legislation, consider to be “firearms.”

The short version is: 18-year-old guy in Fujian province, named Liu Dawei, orders 24 toy guns from an e-tailer out of Taiwan. They seem to disappear in the mail, but were actually intercepted by the government. Liu finds this out when he’s arrested a couple months later and is charged with arms trafficking.

At some point there was a trial, although I’m not sure when the trial started or how long it lasted, but we know it was a year later when the judge gave Liu his sentence: life in prison. Apparently the judge thought the death penalty was more appropriate, but scaled it back due to Liu’s young age.

The real crux of the issue here is how China defines a “firearm.” It’s basically anything with a barrel that can fire a projectile with at least 1.8 joules of kinetic energy (~1.328 ft-lbs), or has an appearance so realistic (in shape, size, and color) that it’s indistinguishable from a real gun. 20 of the 24 toys Liu imported met one or both of these descriptions. For the record, shooting a 0.20 gram airsoft BB, 440 fps equates to 1.8 joules. This is actually a fairly powerful airsoft gun, but there’s no shortage of them available at toy stores, on Amazon, etc, that meet or exceed this spec.

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Liu barely escaped the death penalty, instead getting sentenced to life in prison for buying toys. This is what happens to a disarmed populace.

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61 Responses to Life In Prison For Toys: This Is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace

  1. This is a perfect place for people like Maura Healey, Rottingham Clinton, or Piers Morgan, etc. When people complain about guns in the US, they should move to China. Gun free paradise right?

    • Couldn’t possible have real guns in China. Laws are too restrictive. Well… http://shanghaiist.com/2014/10/29/hubei-man-arms-factory.php… usually.

      Of course they’ve banned most knives now also. Nice way to live.

      Not that we don’t find guns in freaking prison here in the U.S. all the time or anything. Can’t even keep them out of prisons and we think somehow they’ll stay off the street if we restrict the laws further. Yeah. Just like we kept alcohol off the streets during prohibition (when consumption went UP 70%) or keep drugs off the street now, decades into “the war on drugs” that has cost the country trillions of dollars. “Common sense” indeed.

    • Not at all, because we are trying to prevent the relatively minor tyranny we now face from growing into something like China is experiencing.

    • Thank FDR and the commies buddies that the old SOB chose to run the Fed Gov’t during the 30s-40s (and Truman). The Nationalists were stabbed in the back and the chicoms just picked up the pieces.

      • That Nationalists were as corrupt as corrupt can get, and squabbled among themselves rather than face the common enemy. Their demise was of their own doing.

        • They didn’t call Chiang Kai Shek “Cash My Check” for nothing.

          And Cuba wasn’t exactly utopia under Batista.

          Czarist Russia wasn’t much different from other monarchies, but in a lot of other places, Communist tyranny was just a replacement for the existing tyranny.

    • Well Allahu-Akbar to you too, fellow Chinese Nazi! But seriously, the Nationalists were trash then and they are trash now.

      • Do explain to me how accepting military training and equipment from a technologically superior nation = sympathy with centuries-old antisemitism. Glad to see you think communism is a valid ideology. Some American you are.

  2. I think NYC bans airsoft too. Remember that story here a week or so ago about the guy busted on the subway with an airsoft rifle going to a cosplay event?

    • Mark N. beat me to it.

      First of all, in some (or all?) states you have to be 18 years old to purchase AirSoft BB guns. Second, I want to say that there are additional restrictions/hoops on purchasing and/or possessing AirSoft BB guns in states like New Jersey or something like that.

      Make no mistake, a 16 year-old boy cannot simply walk into a store and purchase an AirSoft BB gun in some locations. That means some states are already half-way to the same condition as China.

      • When that 16yo gets a 20 year term in prison for trying to buy underaged then we’ll be half way to China level of tyranny.

  3. It’s not about guns, real or fake. It’s about dawei, offending the bureaucracy. No matter how nonsensical, impractical, or immoral, this is about the law being more important than dawei’s life. It’s not about fairness, justice, or the philosophies of life – its about law, order, and maintaining that order over the people.

    • Which is, of course, the root of gun control laws in the first place. The U.S. being no exception to that.

    • It was also pointed out to me by Lost Lamb that this is, for someone in this part of China, A LOT of money the kid spent on these guns. Like, average salary there means he’d have to save all of it for 2 years to buy them for the amount he paid (like $192 USD per gun). It is admittedly fairly sketchy. He was almost certainly planning on selling them, or was financed by a third party to buy them while shielding the third party from liability (drug mule sort of a situation). Or something else “shady” like this.

      There’s no doubt it was illegal. The guns clearly violated the law in one or two ways. He definitely broke the law and no argument there. But the law is such that he would have received the death penalty for toys were he not so young that he skated by with freaking life in prison. And I don’t see him getting early parole, either. And I don’t think it’s going to be a Club Fed sort of a place.

      • At least he got a trial. Not to long ago they’d have just drug him out and shot him, pour encourager les autres, or however you say it in Chinese.

        • I don’t know enough of China to know what a trial of this sort entails. Jury? Nah. For all I know it could have been a year of rotting away in some squalid prison before getting 10 minutes in front of a judge who was a hair away from giving him the death penalty.

    • I would guess one of two things.
      1) He was planning on executing a coup d’etat on the CCP for control of mainland China
      2) resale to other kids

      I’d favor the latter.

      • Yeah it honestly sounds like a group buy.

        Maybe the whole neighborhood was trying to get into airsoft and he was the designated orderer.

  4. I thought the UK has, or is close to, including any gun-looking-thingy shooting a projectile over 1 joule as a controllable firearm? (I think they have a carve-out for airsoft, but that’s it.)

  5. Could just as easily happen here. The Government would just make up some story about how the 18 yo was a gang banger, “extremist”, “terrorist” or whatnot. Being disarmed has little to do with it, unless the armed population would actually use their arms to intervene against the government when it picks some random victim to harass. Little evidence of that being the case in the US, as of the past century or so.

    Once people fall for the scam that government is some sort of legitimate institution, rather than just the racket they really are; the fact that those on top of the racket allows their peons to “own” the occasional non threatening pea shooter if they jump through enough hoops and are “approved” to do so, in no practical way alters the fact that the peons are still simply slaves, living, or dieing, solely at the mercy of their masters.

    • A gangbanger? Please, we’ve got bangers now that get arrested for having a real gun on them illegally, and they get let go again just in time for dinner.

  6. Wow! China has a lot in common with The State of New Jersey. Check out the legal definition of “firearm” by the progressive utopia called New Jersey:

    ”Firearm” means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.

    That last sentence in that legal definition is the real motherfucker. Statists have much in common…

    • I’ve often contemplated the idea of buying a couple air rifles and be guns that look like ARs or other “assault weapons”, and turning a profit at some pearl clutching buy back.

      • If you could turn a profit would depend. The really realistic airsoft guns that are decent quality (like the one in this video) cost a couple hundred bucks or more. There’s no profit margin on them when they’re giving out $100 gift cards.

  7. Yeah lets not get too upset over this communist paradise. We’re slipping towards totalitarianism. Vote for strongman Trump! I have an uneasy feeling it’s going to get a lot worse in America. Keep a close eye on Louisiana…

    • Barry O lampooned Bush for just flying over, then he turns around and can’t be bothered to quit playing gulf long enough to make an appearance. But yeah, republicans are the real @ssholes here (sarc)

      • And Hillary is in the midst of a nap, can’t be bothered. But her supporters here can be assured her homeys will awaken her to rubber-stamp the farthest left jurists that can possibly be found, to change our nation into a workers’ paradise, trust me. Just don’t allow that devil Trump to get a shot, hell, he hasn’t even gone through the corruption primer of congress yet!

  8. This didn’t happen specifically because China is a disarmed populace. It happened because the Chinese are ruled by a tyrannical government with a very long list of human rights abuses and totalitarian policies that prevent their population from having even some of the most basic freedoms that we take for granted, among them the right to bear arms.

    • “This didn’t happen specifically because China is a disarmed populace. It happened because the Chinese are ruled by a tyrannical government ”

      Of course that’s why it happened. A tyrannical government could not stay in power without a disarmed populace.

      • Sure but its far more complicated than just them not having weapons. China has never been a free society. Even if the people had guns, they have very little cultural history of really fighting for their rights. The population clearly doesn’t have much will to do anything to better their situation given there has been little protest or effort to institute real change.

        • There was this little event that culminated in a place called Tiananmen Square a number of years back, so there’s that.

        • Tiananmen Square is sort of in a city, downtown even, while a billion Chinese live in rural environment without any news not disseminated by the state. Very easy to control.

  9. People of Zhong Guo, If you’re being held hostage, start your next text, ~ err email, ~ fax, hmm telegram? Hell, send up a pidgeon with a message tattoo’d on it starting with the word “I”.

    F! you people need guns!

    Live long enough for us to free you.

  10. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
    -Mao Zedong

    Never let any Asian or any anti-gunner forget this when they ask you why you have a gun. Votes and party membership don’t matter unless YOU can back them up with FORCE.

  11. meanwhile, their air is often so polluted as to be un-breathable, with an economy in the toilet, and citizens that openly and routinely steal copyrighted and trademarked goods and ideas from the rest of the world. Perhaps they should address those issues before worrying about toy guns.

  12. 1.) Poor Kid ! Someone call Amnesty International !

    2). Some states and cities in the USA are like that…

    3.) Before AG. Healey in Massachusetts. Before 1999-Massachusetts Dreaded Gun control act-*(passed by RINO. Gov. Cellucci.)*, & MA. 2014 firearms act part 2…BB/pellet /airsoft gusts required a local police department issued FID card, just like standard longarms. And pepper spray/Mace/self-defense sprays weren’t de-regulated till 2014 addendum, and also required a low level restricted FID card for such. Issued by local police department….

  13. Ah yes, the great country of China, where they’re gun laws rival that of New Jersey and knife laws of New York, real paradise I tell you. Would also like to point out they also restrict the sales of knives. Lived there for a year and for the first 2 weeks after I moved in, cut all my vegetables with my Swiss Army Knife. Went to probably a dozen different major grocery stores and couldn’t find a knife at a single one, ended up constantly borrowing my roommates when her mom visited and brought along a chef’s knife. As for airsoft stuff, wasn’t just a few years ago I would go back to visit and still see street vendors selling those things. When I lived there, I have seen kids play with toy guns though those were water “crystal” (if anyone has had them, they look like clear version of the tapioca pearls in bubble tea) and really slow moving. Oh, and getting pepper spray is also a major pain in the ass too. Security theater at it’s finest, brought along my Kershaw CQC, only got caught once and managed to bluff my way out of that.

  14. Surprised by the verdict, Liu shouted at the judge, saying, “Please shoot me dead with the guns I bought! If I die, I’ll admit I’m guilty.”

    I like it. Dbag Chinese judges and justice system.

    Good thing he wasn’t Falun Gong, or they would have harvested his organs on the spot, and shipped what remained to “Bodyworlds” for their tour.

  15. All the comment sections of every online news outlet in China is closed out with no method for anyone to voice their opinion. Such is the hellhole that is China.

    The punishment grossly doesn’t fit the crime. It’s absolutely ridiculous. A typical extremist example of Chinese Malum prohibitum for an action with no victim except the offense of the bureaucracy – worthy of little more than ridicule of the Chinese barbaric justice system.

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