Wednesday, June 6, 2012

China faces ‘severe situation’ in drug flow increase

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:58 Mizzima News

China says the area used to grow poppies in northern Burma increased by 41 per cent in 2011, according to satellite monitoring.

Opium poppy growing in a cultivated field in Tanai Township in southern Kachin State. Photo: Mizzima

Law enforcement authorities on Tuesday warned of a “severe situation” in curbing cross-border drug smuggling, despite improved cooperation, said a Xinhua news article on Wednesday.

“Our country is fighting a tough battle against drugs due to continuous trafficking from foreign sources,” an unidentified official from the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

China said drugs flow into the country from the Golden Triangle area of Burma, Laos and Thailand; Vietnam; and the Golden Crescent, located along the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

Satellite monitoring data said the poppy growing area of Burma expanded from 31,700 hectares in 2011 to around 44,866 hectares this year, Xinhua said.

China said has also seen more synthetic drugs smuggled from Burma. An official quoted a U.N. report as saying that the total area used to grow poppies in Afghanistan grew by 7 percent to 131,000 hectares in 2011, with a total output of about 5,800 tonnes of opium.

China has worked to step up cross-border anti-drug smuggling efforts, including training more police officers and providing financial assistance to neighboring countries. It provided Laos with US$ 600,000 to help set up drug rehab centers, as well as sent medication, the official said.

US$ 47.62 million has been spent to help farmers in Burma and Laos to replace poppies with other crops, the official said.

With Burmese cooperation, more than 60 Chinese suspects involved in drug dealing have been caught and transferred back to China, the official said.

However, difficulties remain in preventing cross-border drug smuggling, largely due to differences between the legal systems of China and neighboring countries, the official said. For instance, he said problems may occur in attempting to extradite suspects who might face capital punishment in China from countries that do not impose the death penalty, the official said, adding that legal differences can also make evidence exchanges more difficult.

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