China says it will step up drug enforcement efforts during the Olympic Games
in Beijing in August. Meanwhile, Chinese officials are expressing alarm about
the opium traffic from neighboring Afghanistan, the country that has become the
world's leading producer of the drug. Stephanie Ho reports from
China's top drug-fighting officials, Yang Fengrui, says he is concerned more
foreigners in China during the Olympics could mean more illegal narcotics.
"In order to ensure the security of the Olympic games, and to host a
green Olympic games and a drug-free Olympic games, the central government has
instructed the law enforcement departments to do a lot about drug control during
the Olympic games, in order to curb the inflow of drugs from overseas," said
Yang wears two hats. He is the director general of the Ministry of
Public Security's Narcotics Control Bureau. He is also the permanent deputy
secretary general of the newly-created China National Narcotics Control
Commission, an agency created by a law that went into effect June 1.
Chinese official says another issue of concern is the effort to smuggle heroin
through China. He says the heroin supply out of southeast Asia's Golden Triangle
region -- made up of Burma, Laos and Thailand -- has decreased significantly. At
the same time, he points to a relatively new area of opium production, the
so-called Golden Crescent, an area that straddles Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Chinese authorities recently foiled one case involving 50 kilograms
of heroin and 30 carpets imported from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Officials say
smugglers had injected the heroin into flexible plastic tubes, one to two
millimeters in diameter, and then wrapped the tubes into colorful fibers that
were woven into the carpets.
Yang says the Chinese government has taken
special measures to deal with the threat of drugs from Afghanistan, which
produces more than 90 percent of the world's supply of opium.
the border areas and related high-risk areas, we have strengthened efforts to
block the drug sources," Yang said. "And, we have also established checkpoints
and inspection stations on the road routes, land routes, sea routes and air
routes, and also mail routes, to maximize our ability to inspect and block drug
Yang acknowledges there has been what he describes as a "very
little amount" of opium poppy cultivation in China, in eastern Fujian Province,
in western Gansu Province and in northeastern Heilongjiang Province. He says
Chinese authorities use satellite pictures to detect the illegal crop and have
been able to take immediate action to eradicate the problem.
says a small number of Chinese families in what he describes as "the border
areas of cities," also grow opium poppies, but he says it is only because they
enjoy the beautiful flowers.