China's drug control situation keeps improving as the amount of such illicit drugs trafficked into the nation, drug-related crimes and the scale of drug abuse has declined, a senior official said.
China made 58 additions to the list of controlled drugs last year, resulting in all fentanyl and synthetic cannabinoid substances being put under control.
The nation now has 449 kinds of narcotics and psychotropic substances on the list, Liang Yun, head of the narcotics control bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, announced on Thursday, three days ahead of the 35th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
"We also launched special operations targeting fentanyl and drug crimes as well as the research, development and manufacture of illicit new drugs, ensuring that there is no large-scale abuse of the substances," Liang said. "China now has the largest number of listed controlled drugs and the strictest drug control in the world."
Precursor chemicals used to manufacture such drugs were placed under better control. Last year, 15 types of these chemicals were placed on the control list, he said.
Procedures were adopted to check on end-users, monitor drugs' distribution and verify the sources of drugs while cracking down on criminal activity in the sector, Liang said.
According to a report on illicit drug control in China in 2021, released by the office of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, Chinese police apprehended 77,000 people suspected of being involved in one or more of the 54,000 drug-related crimes last year－the number of apprehensions and of drug-related crimes declined by about 16 percent year-on-year.
About 27 tons of drugs were seized during that period, down by 51.4 percent year-on-year, the annual report said.
By the end of 2021, China had nearly 1.49 million registered illicit drug users, down 17.5 percent year-on-year, including 121,000 newly identified drug users, down 21.7 percent year-on-year, the report said.
A National Bureau of Statistics survey found that 96.78 percent of people were satisfied with the authorities' anti-drug efforts last year, Liang said.
Drug traffickers most often use the postal service or waterways to distribute illegal drugs to a market that also continued to expand online. Drugs and payments are kept separate, the drug control report said.
Various platforms, including social media tools, secondhand trading platforms and game websites, are used in the drug trade and payments are in virtual and gaming currencies, the report said.
The rampant use of illegal synthetic drugs in some countries, and the number of drugs and their users remain large, Liang said. "We are still confronted with the challenges of overseas drugs sneaking in and active online drug trafficking," he said.
The region where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar share a common border remained as the main point of origin of illegal drugs in China, although the amount of drugs smuggled from the region has declined.
In 2021, about 98.8 percent of the 1.81 tons of heroin and 89.3 percent of the 15 tons of methamphetamine taken seized came from the region, the report said.
The total amount of trafficked drugs has declined, it said.
However, some 690 kilograms of cocaine, up 18.6 percent year-on-year, were seized last year. Most of it came from South America and was going through China en route to other countries.
About 309 kilograms of overseas marijuana, up 450 percent year-on-year, was seized by the authorities. Most of it came from North America and had arrived in 23 Chinese provincial regions via postal parcels, it said.
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