China steadfast in fighting drug-related crimes

By Yang Zekun (China Daily) 08:21, June 27, 2023

A police officer talks to students about the harmful effects of drugs in Qianxi city, Guizhou province, on Monday, which was the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. FAN HUI / XINHUA

China's stance on fighting drug-related crimes, including those connected to fentanyl, remains firm, and the country has also strengthened cooperation and made progress in the global battle against illegal drugs, authorities said.

The country has "zero tolerance" toward illegal drugs and has staunchly supported and implemented the three United Nations drug control conventions, the China National Narcotics Control Commission said.

China always honors its political commitments and calls on all countries to actively work together in addressing the drug problem, the commission said in a statement ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which fell on Monday.

As one of the countries with the most severe punishments for drug-related crimes, China has upheld a zero-tolerance approach toward illegal drugs, said Chen Wenxin, executive director of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations' Institute of American Studies.

The country has made outstanding contributions to the global fight against illicit drugs, he added. "China has carried out long-term cooperation with the international community, including the United States, on anti-drug issues, and actively helped the US deal with and solve the fentanyl problem," Chen said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the country.

China was the first country in the world to subject all fentanyl-like substances to monitoring and inspection in 2019. In October 2021, the country released testing standards for fentanyl and synthetic cannabinoid drugs, employing various analytical methods to further strengthen control over addictive substances.

Despite China's strong efforts to improve control of the opioid, the US recently used fentanyl-related issues to smear the country and indicted or arrested Chinese enterprises and citizens over the issue.

However, the US does not formally regulate fentanyl substances. Instead, it imposed sanctions on scientific research institutions responsible for detecting and controlling fentanyl substances, including the Institute of Forensic Science of China and the National Anti-drug Laboratory in 2020, seriously affecting China's anti-drug efforts, Chen said.

The recent arrests and prosecution of Chinese citizens and enterprises in "sting operations" on so-called fentanyl-related charges have seriously damaged cooperation between China and the US on the fentanyl issue, and the US should be held responsible for this, he said. "The drug problem in the US has profound social and economic roots and is also a mirror that reflects the US' serious social problems, which have nothing to do with China," Chen said.

On Sunday, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the US condemned the illegal arrests, saying that US law enforcement personnel had ensnared Chinese nationals through "sting operations" in a third country, seriously infringing upon the legitimate rights of the enterprises and individuals.

The US claims that it hopes to resume anti-drug cooperation with China, but it has instead imposed "long-arm jurisdiction" on Chinese companies and individuals by continuously imposing sanctions, and by prosecuting, arresting and even entrapping them, in an attempt to mislead the public and shift responsibility, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce also condemned the US' illegal bullying and pledged to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

The National Narcotics Control Commission said that China has signed 50 intergovernmental and interdepartmental cooperation documents on drug control with more than 30 countries and international coalitions, and established annual meeting mechanisms with 13 nations.

Through good governance of the issue, the numbers of drug-related crimes and illicit drug users in China are declining, while drug control across the country has continued to improve, which has helped promote global drug control, according to the commission.

The country maintains regular communication with dozens of nations and has set up border drug control liaison offices with 13 neighboring countries, which, among other advantages, share anti-drug intelligence resources.

China has also organized joint anti-drug operations to crack down on transnational drug trafficking, including operations with Australia and countries in the Mekong River basin, it added.

In December, Chinese and Lao police carried out a joint operation to arrest armed transnational drug dealers in Laos, according to a case recently detailed by the Ministry of Public Security. A year earlier, the drug dealers shot dead a Chinese police officer while trying to smuggle drugs into China.

In the December operation, a drug dealer carrying an explosive device was shot dead while resisting police, the ministry said.

The operation is another major achievement in the two countries' anti-drug law enforcement cooperation, demonstrating both sides' determination to maintain regional security and stability and crack down on drug crimes, the ministry said.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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