BEIJING, Jun 26 – China still faces a severe challenge in drug control and has enhanced its crackdown on drug-related crimes, Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu said Tuesday.
Meng issued a report on China’s drug control situation at a bimonthly legislative session that opened Tuesday, also the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Police have cracked 329,000 drug-related criminal cases over the past four years, apprehended 378,000 suspects and confiscated 22.5 tonnes of heroin, 36.9 tonnes of methamphetamine, 3.7 tonnes of opium and 15.5 tonnes of ketamine, Meng said.
The Golden Triangle, one of Asia’s two major illicit opium-producing areas, is still the most harmful source of drugs in China, according to the report.
Chinese police seized 5.1 tonnes of heroin and 7.9 tonnes of methamphetamine produced in, and smuggled from, the region last year, which made up 72 percent and 55 percent of the total nationwide seizures of heroin and methamphetamine, respectively, up 55 percent and 62 percent year-on-year, according to the report.
Police also cracked 223 drug smuggling cases originating in the Golden Crescent area, another major Asian region for illicit opium production, in 2011, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year, the report said.
The Golden Crescent is located at the crossroads of Central, South and Western Asia, and includes Afghanistan, the world’s largest opium producer.
It noted that the task of tackling drug trafficking has become increasingly arduous, as more cocaine from South America and methamphetamine from Northeast Asia have been smuggled into China.
China has about 1.19 million registered heroin addicts, or 63 percent of the country’s total drug users, Meng Jianzhu said, adding that 655,000 Chinese were using synthetic drugs or stimulants.
About 922,000 Chinese participated in compulsory isolation for drug rehabilitation over the past four years, Meng said.
Of the total, 641,000 drug users did not relapse in the three years following treatment, he said.
The government has helped more than 40,000 recovering drug addicts return to society following rehabilitation through various programs, including employment assistance programs, according to Meng.
Social force contributing to drug control should be encouraged and the establishment of drug control associations should be strengthened, Meng said, adding that the system encouraging whistleblowing should be improved.
Medical conditions in drug rehabilitation centers should be improved so that treatment for HIV-infected drug addicts can be strengthened, he said.
The Minister of Public Security said China will further deepen cooperation with the neighboring countries of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, so to reduce the influence of the Golden Triangle.
Drug control cooperation with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and Kazakstan will also be strengthened in order to enhance crackdowns on drug trafficking in the Golden Crescent, he said.
China will also improve information exchanges, judicial assistance and law enforcement training with the United States and Australia, and the drug control mechanism under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will also be strengthened, Meng said.