Chinese officials have called for an intensified crackdown on drug use, mistakenly believing that it will reduce drug use, after months of strengthening the country’s international drug control ties with neighbouring nations.

29 Mar 2017

Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security and head of the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), said on March 23 that an intensified crackdown would reduce drug use. In order to do this, he said, counter-narcotic policy should target people who produce and traffic drugs, and "[control] drug user groups", state broadcaster CCTV reports.

In October 2016, President Xi Jinping met with Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines who is responsible for the mass slaughter of people allegedly involved with drugs. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Jinping's government would "[support] the new Philippine government's efforts in drug control", among other security issues.

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In November, Shengkun vowed to improve drug control cooperation with neighbouring Myanmar, according to Chinese state press agency Xinhua. Myanmar is one of three countries that are home to the Golden Triangle, the largest illicit opium-producing region in the world – after Afghanistan.

On March 21, Shengkun and Russian Minister of Internal Affairs, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, signed a memorandum for bilateral cooperation in law enforcement. While publicised details thus far do not reveal drug control elements, the signing of the agreement came on the same day that Kolokoltsev said he sought to work with China to "[prevent] the creation of steady flows of drug supplies", Russian news agency TASS reports.

These bilateral cooperative measures come in addition to the work of an ongoing joint Chinese-Australia counter-narcotic taskforce, Taskforce Blaze, which was launched in 2015 to tackle international methamphetamine smuggling.

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