BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- An official with China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Tuesday defended a noticeable increase in armed police patrols in Chinese cities by saying that they will help with fast responses to rising incidents of violent crime.
Yan Zhengbin, vice head of the public security administration division of the MPS, told China Central Television in an interview that the MPS is normalizing the practice of armed patrols in big cities and areas with "complicated public security situations" to make China safer.
Since Sunday, Shanghai police have been seen carrying guns and bullet casings as well as their usual handcuffs and batons in their daily patrols, a move local authorities said was made after more than a month of personnel training and preparations.
Yan did not respond to a question on whether the practice was introduced as a response to the terrorist attack on March 1 in Kunming, of southwest China's Yunnan Province, although he added that such patrols are normal in many foreign countries.
Chinese police have patrolled with arms in the past, Yan added, citing hunts for fugitives and night patrols as examples.
He also said armed policemen have been well trained in gun use and will only resort to actually drawing their guns in case of vicious crimes such as hostage taking, arson and bombing.
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