Six people were executed in Yunnan and Henan provinces, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region for dealing in large quantities of drugs in three separate cases, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said on Thursday.
In one case, Han Yongwan and Duan Biwu were involved in smuggling, trading and transporting more than 775 kg of heroin from February 2001 to September 2005, along the border areas of Myanmar, and Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.
Under the law, dealing in a minimum of 50 g of heroin warrants the death penalty in some provinces of China. The amount differs in other provinces.
Yesterday marked International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
SPC spokesman Ni Shouming said the country's anti-drug campaign remains tough.
"The number of drug-related cases have been growing with more gangs, families, and organizations involved," he said.
The quantity and new types of drugs are increasing, he said.
In the second case, Gao Guoliang and Li Yongwang were found to have produced nearly 9.8 kg of "magu", a new type of drug. It is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine.
The haul was seized in Henan province in 2006.
Last year, the SPC, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security jointly issued a new judicial interpretation and penalties to be imposed for drugs such as ketamine and methadone.
If a person smuggles, trades, transports, manufactures or possess 1 kg of the drugs he or she is liable to a minimum of seven years' imprisonment, or depending on the severity of the case, capital punishment.
The transportation of drugs is getting more complex. Pregnant women or nursing mothers are being used. If caught, they do not normally face the death penalty, Ni said.
The SPC will not change its stance on drug crimes and punishment, he said, in reference to the review of death penalties, a function that was returned to the SPC in January last year.
In the first four months of this year, courts handled 10,883 drug cases and sentenced 13,435 people, 4,625 of whom were given severe sentences - death, life imprisonment or terms of more than five years.
The courts will show no leniency in handing down heavy penalties to people who deal in drugs domestically or internationally, or to repeat offenders, Ni said.
In the third case, He Jianjun and Zhang Fuyou were both repeat offenders.
They trafficked 604 g of heroin from January to March last year in Nanning, capital of Guangxi.