Tell it to SunStar: Drugs a common enemy of the world

THE destructive effects of narcotic drugs on public health, economy and national security cannot be disputed.

One country which knows this too well is the People’s Republic of China. It recognizes the fact that all drug related crimes must be given utmost attention and dealt with strictly in accordance with the law, regardless of nationality.

China’s history, location, size, population and current economic conditions play a great role on the illegal drug trade in China. Modernization began with two opium wars. Large amounts of opium entered the Chinese market in the early 1800s causing serious problems to the development of the economy and society in general.

Located near the Golden Triangle, Golden Crescent and numerous coastal cities with large and modern port facilities makes China an attractive transit center for drug trafficking. This gives us a better appreciation of the country’s own struggle against dangerous drugs.

The fight against illegal drugs and drug-related crimes is a global concern which no country can effectively handle on its own. It is highly important to strengthen international cooperation in drug control, promote the battle against narcotics worldwide and radically solve the drug problem.

The Chinese government has done its utmost to vigorously help bordering countries in its anti-drug combat. Seeing that drug-related crimes never stay within the boundaries of one country, tackling this problem will require shared bilateral and international responsibility.

In 2016 alone, China successfully closed a total of 87 international and cross-border drug cases in cooperation with more than 20 countries. China has full willingness to further cooperation towards improved cooperative mechanisms in tracking drug traffickers and is capable of offering information, technical experience, telecommunications equipment, straining and rehabilitation programs.

Cooperation

For many years, the Chinese government has taken drug control as a fundamental objective, and has formulated and implemented a series of principles, policies and measures in this regard. Serious drug addicts can be sent to undergo treatment by the police or judicial officials.

In 2016, more than 240,000 drug users were in compulsory detox.

Since 2008, 1.13 million drug addicts have spent time in 360 detox centers, which are managed by judicial administrative authorities, to undergo compulsory treatment, ministry staff revealed at a news briefing.

China has strengthened its partnerships with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and other international organizations, and actively participated in multilateral anti-drug cooperation platform in Great Mekong Sub-region, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China Drug Control Mechanism, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Brics.

In the past five years, China has dealt with 724,000 drug-related cases, arrested 534,000 suspects and seized 370 tons of drugs in various forms. In the same period, China joined 16,000 international operations against drugs, arresting 19,000 suspects and capturing 22.7 tons of drugs, based on records of the Narcotics Control Bureau of Ministry of Public Security.

Support

As a close neighbor, China fully understands and firmly supports President Rodrigo Duterte in prioritizing the fight against illicit drugs. Despite some citizens’ involvement in the smuggling and operation of illegal drugs, China is committed to helping the Philippines combat transnational crimes, including drug trafficking.

The law enforcement agencies from China joined hands with their Philippine counterparts in handling the criminal cases of drug trafficking and secured significant achievements. One of these was the successful seizure on May 25, 2017of a batch of smuggled methamphetamine hydrochloride (also known as shabu) worth P6.4 billion. This was based on intelligence report provided by the Chinese side.

Since October 2016, around 200 trainees from Philippine law enforcement agencies such as Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have attended more than 20 training programs held in China. Related programs will continue in the years to come. China has also provided the Philippines with testing equipment and financial aid to help build drug abuse treatment rehabilitation centers.

Last January, the Chinese Embassy and the Department of Health broke ground for two 150-bed capacity rehabilitation centers in the Philippines. In the meantime, the Chinese government has realized that a wave of rising international drug tide is shaking China more severely than ever and such situation could not be eliminated in the short run. Illegal drugs are still rampant in this world.

The fight against drug abuse is a heavy task, and there is a long way ahead in this regard. It is a common wish for all of us to solve the drug problem as soon as possible and to build this planet into a healthy and civilized world.

The Chinese government will continue to wage an unrelenting struggle against drugs and will not stop its efforts until drugs are eradicated. The Chinese government will, as always, strengthen cooperation with Philippines as well as other countries and make unrelenting efforts to completely eliminate illegal drugs and build a world free from the drug curse.

The Chinese Consulate in Cebu is also working towards being the bridge for Philippine and Chinese government agencies working in the battle against the illegal drug trade. We will facilitate more coordination of drug control departments between Visayas and China, and invite more officials to China for coordination and training.--Consul General Shi Yong, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu
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