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Drug-control authorities slam US fentanyl claims

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-22 07:18
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A police officer and a detection dog conduct a drug-search drill at Nantong Railway Station in Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Wednesday. XU PEIQIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

China's narcotics control authorities have expressed strong dissatisfaction with the United States for its smearing of and sanctions on Chinese enterprises and individuals over their alleged involvement in drugs, pointing out that what they were exporting were common products.

Since the beginning of this year, the US has imposed sanctions on several Chinese entities and individuals twice in a row on the grounds that their chemicals and equipment, such as tablet pressing and capsule filling machines, had been flowing into Mexico to manufacture fentanyl. Washington claims that this has fueled the abuse of fentanyl in the US.

In response, the China National Narcotics Control Commission said on Wednesday that the US moves are an attempt to slander and suppress China. The commission said the products mentioned by the US are not subject to control in line with international drug control conventions, but are all common products.

"The US side claims that the precursors for the processing of fentanyl in Mexico are sourced from China, but the chemicals and related equipment involved are not listed in accordance with international drug control conventions or Chinese and Mexican laws," Yu Haibin, deputy head of the commission, told a news conference.

He emphasized that China has always fulfilled its obligations under United Nations conventions, with implementation of an import and export licensing and international verification system for precursor chemicals.

If enterprises apply for the export of precursor chemicals, China will require them to submit a certificate of lawful use issued by the competent government department of the importer or a guarantee document of lawful use by the importer, according to Yu.

He said that China has suspended the export of precursor chemicals by tens of thousands of tons annually in recent years through import and export verification, effectively preventing precursor chemicals from flowing into illegal channels through international trade.

"China has taken the lead in regulating the entire category of fentanyl substances, even though there is no fentanyl abuse in the country," he said. "While the US, which is deeply affected by the abuse of fentanyl, has not formally regulated that, and has frequently hyped the so-called Chinese chemicals flowing into Mexico."

"We believe that reducing domestic demand and supply is the solution to root out the abuse of fentanyl in the US. Shifting blame to other countries cannot solve the problem from the root," Yu added. "We hope to see more meaningful and concrete actions by the US."

Underlining that the Chinese government has a consistent and resolute attitude toward drug control, he said, "China is ready to work with other nations to promote the establishment of cooperative relations featuring equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation."

According to data provided by the commission, the number of drug-related crimes solved by Chinese police dropped to 35,000 last year, from more than 160,000 in 2015, under the country's strong anti-drug crackdown.

In April, the Foreign Ministry also condemned US sanctions against Chinese entities for allegedly supplying precursor chemicals to drug cartels in Mexico for the production of fentanyl, saying "the move, which further hinders Sino-US cooperation in countering narcotics, benefits no one".

A report on China's 2022 drug control shows China's drug-related crimes hit a 10-year low last year, with a sustained decrease in drug supply, consumption and abuse.

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