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 Beijing.
One of China's top
drug-fighting officials, Yang Fengrui, says he is concerned more
foreigners in China during the Olympics could mean more illegal
"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.
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 Iran.
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.
"First, at 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 sources."
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.
Yang also 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.