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China Launches New Campaign to Crack Down on Drugs

China has decided to begin a new and active anti-drug campaign nationwide lasting until July, a senior narcotics control official said Thursday in Beijing.

Bai Jingfu, deputy director of the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) and vice-minister of Public Security, said in a televised conference that the nationwide concerted action will begin around the Chinese Lunar New Year that falls on February 12.

Main targets will be dance and singing halls, night clubs and other places of entertainment where drug users and dealers gather. Any establishment deeply involved in drugs and with ongoing problems with drugs will be closed down and their operators will be punished, he said.

The campaign includes concerted efforts to find drug addicts and help them get rid of their addiction. Other crimes such as smuggling and selling drugs like opium, heroin, ice and "shaking-head" pills will be targeted. Places with a high occurrence of these crimes will be the key areas for action.

Officials with the NNCC said against the background of a flood of narcotics worldwide, China is "still faced with serious difficulties" in its fight against drugs.

So far, 2,051 counties and regions have been found to have drug-related problems. There are now 205 counties where over 1,000 people are involved in drug-related activities.

By October last year, the Chinese public security authorities had registered 901,000 drug addicts countrywide. Bai said China was successful last year in its narcotics control battles, as 110,000 drug-related cases were solved and 73,000 drug-related suspects were seized. A total of 13.2 tons of heroin, 2.8 tons of opium, 4.8 tons of ice and 2.07 million "shaking-head" pills were confiscated.

China took part in increased international cooperation in narcotics control last year. A Chinese delegation led by NNCC Chairman and Minister of Public Security Jia Chunwang visited Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam last year and signed narcoticscontrol memos with the four countries.

Last August, a ministerial conference on narcotics control was also held in China, with officials from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand participating. This greatly improved cooperation between the four countries, Bai said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2002)


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