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Envoy highlights cooperation in narcotics fight

By ZHAO HUANXIN | | Updated: 2022-10-01 08:10
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Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang. [Photo provided to]

China is a "well-intentioned" and "sincere" partner for international cooperation and global co-governance on counternarcotics, said Beijing's top envoy in Washington on Thursday.

In an interview with Newsweek, Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang said China was historically a painful victim of opium, and that part of history has made China naturally empathize and proactively cooperate with the United States and other countries in their fight against narcotics.

As the US continues to grapple with an opioid crisis, some people believe China is the primary source of the epidemic's deadliest drug — fentanyl — in the US. And some even claim that China is shipping fentanyl to the US "as a form of payback for the Opium Wars", and that "North America has been flooded with precursor chemicals from China, stifling international efforts".

"These comments are false and misleading," Qin said.

He said China and the US have had decades of productive cooperation in combating narcotics.

Thanks to its rigorous control measures, China is not facing any prevalent fentanyl overdoses or deaths, yet China has done everything possible to help the US address this problem.

On May 1, 2019, China began regulating all fentanyl-related drugs as a class of controlled substances, the first country in the world to do so. But the US has stopped short of doing the same.

On the judicial front, three legal documents have been formulated to support the filing, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of offenses involving these substances. To reinforce fentanyl testing and monitoring, five subcenters of the National Drug Laboratory have been established across the country, Qin said.

On the operational level, enterprises and personnel involved in fentanyl have been clearly identified to understand the full picture of precursors and equipment they have and to prevent offenses from the source.

The postal and parcel industry has been mandated to verify the real names of both senders and recipients and check parcel content, and equipment must be used for security screening as opposed to visual inspection, with particularly stringent examinations for US-bound parcels.

Qin said that for all these efforts, it was "shocking" for China to be sanctioned by the US in May 2020.

The US added China's essential institutions on fentanyl profiling and control, such as the Institute of Forensic Science of China's Ministry of Public Security and the National Narcotics Laboratory, to an "entity list", which only curbed China's capability to fight narcotics.

"We hope that the United States will act to stabilize and improve its relations with China and lift the sanctions on Chinese institutions to remove obstacles for such cooperation to proceed," he said.

The latest accusations have shifted to link China with Mexico, claiming that China is shipping precursor chemicals to the country, where drug cartels produce the lethal drug and smuggle it overland into the US, Qin said.

"The fact is, however, that China has never received any report or data from Mexico on the use of Chinese precursor chemicals for drug production there, nor has the US provided any evidence about the flow of Chinese chemicals into Mexico for fentanyl production," he said.

ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington

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