As single largest major drug demand country, US in no position to wag finger at China's counter-narcotics efforts: official
Published: Sep 26, 2023 06:39 PM
A man sits slumped in a street overrun with drug users in Kensington Philadelphia, on July 19, 2021. Photo: VCG

A man sits slumped in a street overrun with drug users in Kensington Philadelphia, on July 19, 2021. Photo: VCG

In response to US' identification of China as a "major drug source country," one official from China National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) said on Tuesday that the US, as a "single largest major drug demand country," is in no position to wag its finger at China's counter-narcotics efforts. China opposes "politicization" of drug issues, and urges the US to stop "long-arm jurisdiction" and abusing unilateral sanctions. 

The US's identification has no basis in facts and is a malicious smear. China firmly opposes it and has made serious démarches to the US, Wei Xiaojun, the executive deputy director of NNCC and head of the Ministry of Public Security's narcotics control bureau, said at a Tuesday press briefing. 

To date, China has scheduled 456 anesthetic and psychotropic drugs and two entire classes of substances. China is one of the countries that have scheduled the biggest number of substances and exercise the strictest control on drugs. China has listed 38 types of controlled precursor chemicals, and the narcotics control authorities have put in place a comprehensive and dynamic supervision mechanism for all stages of precursor chemical management, according to the authorities.

The US claimed that China is the major source of precursor chemicals being used in illicit fentanyl production in Latin American countries such as Mexico, however, China has yet to be made aware of evidence provided by relevant countries to back up this claim, including the US and Mexico, about chemicals flowing into illegal drug-making channels, Wei said.

Second, the US confuses the concept of drugs and precursor chemicals. The three United Nations anti-drug conventions have a clear conceptual distinction between drugs and precursor chemicals, with rigorous procedures for placing a substance under regulation. 

Most of the precursor chemicals claimed by the US are non-UN-regulated substances, which have a wide range of legitimate uses, for industrial production as well as essential for ensuring people's livelihood, according to Wei.

The US is also a major producer of chemicals, and if countries that "produce precursor chemicals that have a significant impact on the US" are classified as "major drug source countries," the first country to be listed should be the US, Wei said.

Over recent years, international and China's control over fentanyl and its chemical precursors has become increasingly strict, and there have been few individual cases of fentanyl abuse in Asian and other countries. However, in the US, the fentanyl crisis continues to worsen and the death toll continues to increase, the official noted.

China has a population of more than 1.4 billion people, with 197,000 arrests being conducted in 2022. Currently, the country has a total of 950,000 drug addicts, according to Wei. In comparison, the US has less than 400 million people, but more than 60 million individuals are drug addicts. Of this, 90 percent of them have not received any drug treatment, the number of drug overdose deaths in 2022 exceeded 100,000, Wei noted.

China firmly upholds the international anti-drug regime based on the three UN anti-drug conventions, urging the US to stop blaming and smearing China and do things in ways that are conducive to cooperation with China, not otherwise, the official noted.

From January to August, a total of 26,000 drug crimes were concluded, up 10 percent year-on-year, with 39,000 drug suspects being arrested, up 16.4 percent, and 16.5 tons of drugs being seized, up 24.7 percent, according to NNCC statistics.

In the same period, a total of 45,000 new drug users were detected nationwide, down 10.6 percent year-on-year. A total of 110,000 drug addicts were investigated and punished, down 18.1 percent year-on-year, according to authorities.