As China marked International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Tuesday by burning seized drugs and announcing the executions of some drug traffickers, there is no denying that despite the positive results of their crackdown, the authorities still face a serious challenge in the fight against drugs.
In its annual drug report released on Monday, the authorities say police seized 89.2 tonnes of drugs last year – an increase of nearly 9 per cent from 2016 – while the number of known drug users in the country rose by nearly 2 per cent in 2017 to 2.55 million.
New challenges have emerged in the anti-narcotics drive, including the Internet as a channel for selling drugs, and gangs increasingly using express delivery companies to transport drugs.
There has also been the emergence of new drugs – including those made of noncontrolled chemicals, which can be hundreds of times more potent than traditional drugs.
According to the National Narcotics Laboratory, 34 new types of psychoactive substances were introduced in 2017, bringing the total number to 230 nationwide.
China has some of the harshest drug laws in the world, with the manufacturing or selling of illicit drugs designated as a capital crime.
And several measures have been taken to raise awareness of the anti-drug fight, including providing anti-drug education in communities and rural areas, as well as releasing information about anti-drug work via new media.
As a victim that is facing an increased threat of drug inflows from the so-called Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent regions in Southeast and Central Asia, China knows only too well that illicit drugs are closely intertwined with international terrorism and other organised transnational crimes, and that no country can effectively deal with this scourge alone.
That is why Beijing has called for a global struggle against narcotics-related crimes that transcends political differences.
It has actively participated in the multilateral anti-drug cooperation platform in the Greater Mekong subregion and through regional organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
In 2016 alone, China solved 87 international and cross-border drug cases in cooperation with more than 20 countries.
Such cross-border cooperation must be strengthened for countries to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.