Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an intensified and relentless war on drugs that will concentrate equally on the domestic proliferation of chemical composite narcotics as well as illegal drug trafficking throughout Asia. According to an official report from China Daily,
“President Xi Jinping has called for following a path with Chinese characteristics to contain drug-related problems and win the war on drugs in the new era”.
The report further states,
“Anti-drug authorities around the country pursued over 140,000 drug-related criminal cases and busted 5,534 drug producing and trafficking gangs last year, according to the Narcotics Control in China (2017) report, released by the China National Narcotics Control Commission on Monday.
To smuggle traditional drugs, such as heroin, and synthetic drugs including methamphetamine and ketamine from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, Central, South and Western Asia’s Golden Crescent and South America to China, domestic traffickers team up with foreign drug trafficking forces, according to the report. They form new and more complicated transportation networks that pose serious threats to China, it said.
China, meanwhile, has cracked down hard on drug production. The amount of synthetic drug production activities has been curbed and the price of such drugs in certain area has increased significantly in 2017, the report said”.
China’s leadership in the international war on drugs is crucial not only as a means to end the scourge of narcotics, but as an exemplar of how a drug war can be effectively waged and won in a society that has a low threshold for tolerating corruption among politicians and law enforcement.
One of the reasons that other countries have had a difficult time curtailing the trafficking and use of narcotics is because all it takes is a comparatively small bribe to make political leaders and police look the other way. Prior to the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte in The Philippines, multiple civil servants, local judges, national and local politicians and police were materially benefiting from the narco-trade through the taking of bribes and other financial dealings with criminal drug dealers and traffickers.
According to official statistics from The Philippines, between July of 2016 and May of this year, 506 government workers including civil servants, police and elected politicians were arrested due to economically benefiting or otherwise engaging in illegal relations with drug dealers, traffickers and users.
For The Philippines there is still more to do as President Duterte’s administration must catch up with decades of a wantonly neglected enforcement policy against organised criminal narcotics smugglers and dealers. While The Philippines no longer employs capital punishment, in China corruption is a capital offence. This helps to create a strong deterrence to the kinds of corrupt activities that are now being punished in The Philippines while it also insures that when a corrupt official is caught, justice comes in a swift and correctly severe fashion.
While the United States allows for capital punishment, corrupt officials are typically only ever fined or imprisoned, even in cases of committing gross harm to communities in their own nation. This is the case in spite of the fact that it is now known that in the 1980s, the CIA helped facilitate the urban crack cocaine epidemic in major US cities in order to help finance the Contra insurgency in Nicaragua. US intelligence agencies continue to foster worrying relations with the international narcotics market while few have been punished for their egregious crimes.
This is why a drug war with Chinese characteristics is vital because unlike Europe which is moving to normalise hard drugs or the US where many public officials have conspired with drug traffickers against their own citizens and those abroad, let alone The Philippines where only since 2016 has there been a serious effort to clamp down on narcotics proliferation, in China, an efficient political system and law enforcement apparatus has the ability to wage total war against drugs without any of the setbacks faced by decent law enforcement officials in Europe, much of south east Asia and the Americas.
Just as China has succeeded in reducing poverty from 88% at the beginning of the 1980s to under 2% today, with a further aim to eliminate poverty completely by 2020, China can now also lead the way in the war on drugs based on a record of efficiency and accomplishing monumental tasks with breathtaking speed.
It is also crucial that China works with partners throughout Asia to stop the flow of narcotics in all directions. In this respect, President Xi Jinping who hailed the state of Sino-Philippine relations as a “golden era” during his first meetings with President Rodrigo Duterte, has a ready made partner in the form of the Philippine leader. The same is true of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who in his previous lengthy term in office showed a fierce commitment to fighting drugs.
China’s war on drugs is not only important for the Chinese people but when successful, it can be viewed as an important security boost to all of Asia and beyond.