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Thursday, July 18, 2024

China Cracks Down on Shipping of Illicit Drugs at Ports

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 25, 2024

© xiaoliangge / Adobe Stock

© xiaoliangge / Adobe Stock

Chinese authorities have seized 4.5 tons of illicit drugs at border ports so far this year leading to 381 arrests, state media said on Tuesday, amid new efforts to fight trafficking and high-level counternarcotics talks between Washington and Beijing.

The United States, where fentanyl abuse has been a major cause of death, has pushed China for deeper law enforcement cooperation, including further controls on the chemicals used to make fentanyl and which are often shipped from China, experts say.

Washington and Beijing recently joined forces to investigate a major drug-linked money laundering operation, in a breakthrough amid otherwise tense bilateral ties.

China's top prosecutor's office said on Tuesday that the authorities prosecuted more than 65,000 illicit drug cases from January 2023 to May 2024, a year-on-year drop of about a third, without laying out specific reasons behind the fall.

Speaking at a news conference, Yuan Ming, the head of the prosecutorial department for major crimes said that "the proportion of new drug crime cases has shown an upward trend," singling out those committed with the use of the internet and online delivery.

"In response to the problem of criminals committing drug trafficking crimes through postal channels, the procuratorate has continuously increased the punishment of crimes of drug delivery," said deputy prosecutor general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Chen Guoqing.

Chen added that in 2023, the authorities prosecuted more than 2,100 people for such crimes.

During the news conference, Chinese officials vowed to bolster cooperation between various departments and regions of China, as well as to harness the power of digital tracking and 'big data' to enhance illicit drug control.

(Reuters - Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski and Beijing newsroom; editing by Alexandra Hudson)