Since the 1990s Chinese DMR (designated marksman rifles) were based on the bullpup (magazine behind the trigger) assault rifle modified, with a smaller magazine and telescope sight. This DMR fired the Chinese 5.8/42mm round. It's unusual for sniper rifles to use a small round like this. China’s proprietary 5.8x42mm cartridge, which is a little wider than the 5.56 NATO but shorter in overall length, is mainly used in the Type 95 assault rifle and a QBB 95 squad light machine-gun. The DMRs use the "heavy" 5.8mm round which has a heavier steel core bullet for longer ranges and accuracy. This proved less effective than Western designated marksman rifles using the larger and heavier 7.62/51mm NATO standard round.
Meanwhile the older non-bullpup Type 81 rifle appeared in a designated marksman version using the 7.62/51mm round, a smaller magazine and modified to only operate semi-automatically. This version was used by Chinese police snipers as well as a growing number of elite army troops and members of special forces (commando) units. Some regular army units have obtained this Type 81 rifle and use it as an unofficial sniper rifle and DMR.
The Type 81 was designed by the Chinese in the 1970s to replace the Russian SKS carbine and AK-47s after China and Russia cut diplomatic and trade relations because of a border dispute. This was the first Chinese designed modern rifle, rather than a copy of a foreign design. The operation and accuracy of the Type 81 was superior to the original AK-47. Despite that, fewer than half a million were built and it entered service in 1983. Type 81 was originally designed to use the SK-47 7.62/39mm round, but was later upgraded to handle the more powerful and accurate 7.62/51mm round. Someone added a high-quality scope and 20 round magazines to the rifle and China reinvented the original American DMR. The U.S. DMR was based on the 7.62mm 1950s M-14 rifle that was only used for semi-automatic fire and had a 20-round magazine. It was replaced in the mid-1960s by the M16. At that point 1.3 million M14s had been built and many found a new purpose as a DMR.