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Consulate General Spokesperson's Remarks on China's Policies and Efforts in Controlling Fentanyl-related Substances and its Participation in Global Anti-Drug Campaign
2019/08/31

The Chinese government attaches great importance to drug control. It takes a "zero-tolerance" approach to narcotic drugs and has been firm in enforcing anti-drug policies. It has exercised very stringent control over fentanyl and its analogues, listing 25 fentanyl-related substances and two precursors as controlled drugs, more than those listed by the U.N. On May 1 this year, China scheduled all fentanyl-related substances as a drug class. That means all fentanyl-like substances are considered drugs in China. Fentanyl-related substances are also listed in the U.S., but the listing is only temporary for two years and will expire on February 6, 2020. In comparison, China's fentanyl control measures are broader, longer and more strict. It has demonstrated the Chinese government's resolve to protect its people's lives and health and its sense of responsibility and commitment to taking an active part in the global anti-drug campaign to maintain world security and stability.

After the class scheduling came into force, the Chinese side has gone all-out to progress the related work, including formulating legal documents, conducting nation-wide screening for fentanyl-related substances and cracking down on their online sale. Logistics companies are urged to observe the "three rules" for package delivery, namely, checking the senders' ID cards, opening packages to check the content and conducting machine security check. High-risk international packages at key customs checkpoints are more closely scrutinized. Besides, we have moved more quickly to set up drug labs and increase publicity and training on fentanyl-related substances to raise public awareness. All these measures have ensured earnest implementation of the class scheduling.

As a result, significant progress has been achieved in this regard. So far this year, not a single case involving illegal manufacturing, sale and trafficking of fentanyl-related substances has been found by China's anti-drug law enforcement agencies. Data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that, in the first quarter this year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection only seized 0.29 kilograms of fentanyl-related substances from China in 12 cases, down by 99 percent and 93 percent respectively from the same period of last year. In the second quarter, 5 kilograms were seized in 4 cases, down by 78 percent and 97 percent respectively.

The U.S. allegation that China is the main source of fentanyl-related substances in the U.S. is groundless and false. Fentanyl-related substances for medical use legally produced by Chinese factories have never flown into the U.S. China's law-enforcement agencies did have cracked cases involving illegal processing and trafficking of fentanyl-like substances to the U.S. They were disguised as or hidden in international packages and mailed to the U.S. under the cross-border collusion between criminals inside and outside China. The amount involved is very limited.

The manufacturing, sale and abuse of fentanyl substances is a global problem that needs to be jointly tackled by all countries. The current problem of fentanyl abuse in the U.S. is the result of many factors at work. We have noted that some experts and media have pointed to the abuse of prescription painkillers in the United States as a cause. With 5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. consumes 80 percent of the global opioid medications. If the U.S. really wants to solve its fentanyl problem, it needs to do more to reduce its domestic demand. We hope that the U.S. side will respect facts, view China's efforts objectively and stop shifting blames, and step up regulation at home to effectively combat the manufacturing, sale and trafficking of Fentanyl substances. The Chinese government stands ready to deepen cooperation with the U.S. and other countries to jointly strengthen international control of these substances and solve the problem of fentanyl abuse.

Q: Recently, some U.S. government agencies and media claimed that Mexico seized more than 23 tonnes of fentanyl from China and its final destination was the U.S., and accused China of failing to take effective measures to stop the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. What is China's response to this?

A: The competent authorities in China have taken the relevant reports very seriously. They have found out about the whole transaction process of these substances and have them inspected and identified. They are neither fentanyl products nor their scheduled precursors. In fact, they are 920 bags of calcium chloride weighing 23,000 kilograms and 11 bags of N-phenylpiperidine-4-amine weighing 275 kilograms, both of which are widely used industrial chemicals. They are not listed either by the U.N., the U.S. or China. Both the U.S. and Mexico have confirmed that they are not fentanyl.

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