The Chinese communist regime launched a campaign against illicit drug trafficking Thursday, led by Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s demand Tuesday that authorities create “a path with Chinese characteristics to contain drug-related problems and win the war on drugs in the new era.”
China is one of the main sources of the deadly opioid fentanyl and home to some of the most dangerous and lucrative drug trafficking operations in the world.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping urged a path with Chinese characteristics to contain drug-related problems and win the war on drugs in the new era ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” on Tuesday, state outlet Global Times reported. Xi holds the largely ceremonial title of “president” in addition to being commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The newspaper added that Xi argued that the only way to end drug crime was to grant him and the CPC more power.
“Xi spoke of the need to strengthen Party leadership, give full play to the political and system advantages, improve the anti-drug work mechanism, heighten responsibilities for officials and mobilize the public,” the Global Times, citing state agency Xinhua, noted.
Xinhua added, “Calling anti-drug work a matter that concerned state safety, national prosperity and the people’s wellbeing, Xi demanded no let-up in the efforts until drugs are eliminated.”
China’s Foreign Ministry also took the opportunity Tuesday to applaud its own efforts on drug crime. “Since modern times, the Chinese people have been fighting a tenacious battle against drugs,” spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Tuesday. ” In today’s world where the drug issue has become a global challenge, besides steadfastly combatting drug abuse and illicit trafficking on the domestic front, the Chinese government has been vigorously promoting and engaging in international anti-drug cooperation.”
China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) reported on Tuesday the arrest of 660,600 people in connection with over half a million drug crime cases in the last five years, since Xi Jinping took office, warning that methamphetamines and ketamine have become increasingly common among young people. A drug that has become a particular concern around the world originating largely in China is the opiate fentanyl, which has killed many opiate addicts in the United States. American officials as early as 2015 reported China as the primary source of fentanyl around the world, urging Beijing to act to shut down illegal fentanyl trafficking around the world.
“In a country that has perfected the art of Internet censorship, the open online drug market is just the most blatant example of what international law enforcement officials say is China’s reluctance to take action as it has emerged as a major player in the global supply chain for synthetic drugs,” the New York Times reported at the time.
President Donald Trump raised the issue of fentanyl during his last visit to China in November.
“Every year, drug trafficking destroys millions and millions of lives,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Xi. “Today, President Xi and I discussed ways we can enhance coordination to better counter the deadly drug trade and to stop the lethal flow of poisonous drugs into our countries and into our communities.”
While Xi agreed to cooperate, other Chinese officials dismissed the problem as one of American culture, not Chinese illicit trafficking. China National Narcotics Control Commission representative Yu Haibin said in December that the fentanyl problem was a product of a “lax cultural attitude” towards drugs in the West, and blamed the legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states for the popularity of unrelated opiates.
“The United States should look within to cut down demand for opioids which are fueling its deadly drug crisis rather than stressing unsubstantiated claims that China is the major source of these chemicals,” Yu asserted.
Yu did not address China’s growing drug problem in his statement. According to the Global Times on Tuesday, China saw a two percent increase in documented drug addicts in the past year, representing over 600,000 people.
Liu Yuejin, the deputy head of the narcotics commission, said on Monday that China could do little to prevent fentanyl addiction. “When fewer and fewer Americans use fentanyl, there would be no market for it,” he claimed, adding that “it’s common knowledge that most new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been designed in laboratories in the United States and Europe.”