China / Society

Ministry denies satellite detecting marijuana field

(ECNS) Updated: 2014-08-26 15:48

Ministry denies satellite detecting marijuana field

A Long March carrier rocket carrying the high-definition earth observation satellite Gaofen-1 and three other satellites blasts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan city, Gansu province in this April 2013 file photo. [Photo/IC]

China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said on Monday afternoon that they were unclear about the detection of some large marijuana fields by the high-definition Earth observation satellite Gaofen-1, information that was released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) earlier the same day.

The message quickly became hot news, as China has launched an anti-drug campaign this year that has netted several celebrities.

An unnamed officer at the MPS's Drug Control Bureau said the message wasn't from them, and that an investigation into its source was underway, the Beijing Times reported.

Nie Lei, an official at Inner Mongolia's anti-drug department, denied that the marijuana fields were observed in the autonomous region, according to the Paper.

"We are also looking for the source. As far as I've learned, there's no cooperation between the Drug Control Bureau and the CNSA," said Nie.

An article containing the message on the CNSA's official website had been removed by the afternoon. Discrepancies exist between some messages and the facts, said Zhang Liwen, director of the administration's information service. But he declined to reveal more.

Gaofen-1 is the first satellite launched last April as part of the country's HD Earth observation system. It is widely used in geographic and resource surveys, environment and climate change monitoring, precision agriculture, disaster relief and city planning.

An expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said the Gaofen-1 can detect marijuana-growing areas with its spectrograph device.

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