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China Anti-drug and Narcotine law and policy

Understand China anti-drug and nacotiine law and policy is essential for our China criminal defense lawyer to defend drug crime and narcotine crime.

I. Summary

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to face problems of drug production and trafficking, which contribute to its status as an important drug transit country in the international drug trafficking arena. China is a major manufacturer of “dual use” chemicals, primarily used for licit products, but also used for illicit drugs like methamphetamine. Organized crime diverts legitimately manufactured chemicals, especially ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, from large chemical industries throughout China to produce illicit drugs. In addition to domestic drug production problems, China’s proximity to the Golden Triangle, North Korea, and the Golden Crescent facilitates the trafficking of drugs such as heroin and opium. PRC authorities view drug trafficking and abuse as a major threat to China’s national security, economy, and stability. The PRC’s National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) conducted a new round of the “People’s War against Drugs” in 2009 to maintain an “in-depth and continuous improvement” of controlling drug production and trafficking. The absolute number of seizures of illicit drugs increased over recent years. However, corruption in drug-producing and drug transit regions of China limits what dedicated enforcement officials can accomplish. PRC authorities continue to take steps to integrate China into regional and global counternarcotics efforts, and cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics officials improved over the past year. The PRC is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The NNCC leads the efforts of narcotics control in China and is responsible for the national coordination of drug control activities. The NNCC includes representatives from a range of government ministries. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS), through the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), enforces narcotics control measures. The NCB operates from central headquarters in Beijing and from provincial offices. China Customs Anti Smuggling Bureau also has significant involvement in narcotics control. A signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the PRC takes strong measures against the use and trafficking of narcotics and dangerous drugs.

The PRC government subscribes to “the Four Prohibitions,” which include: 1) disruption of trafficking organizations by attacking the source and stemming the flow of drugs entering China, 2) strict enforcement of all relevant laws and regulations, 3) treatment of drug users by determining root causes of drug use and empowering communities to address their particular drug problems, and 4) actively cooperating with other countries and international drug control organizations. China’s location, geographical size, population, and current economic condition pose obstacles to its ability to adhere to these “Four Prohibitions.” The PRC’s physical proximity to major narcotics producing areas in Asia—Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, and Southwest Asia’s Golden Crescent—exacerbates its drug trafficking problem. PRC officials recognize the Golden Crescent is a source of increasing amounts of heroin trafficked into western China, particularly into Xinjiang province.


China’s 97-kilometer border with Afghanistan is remote, but PRC authorities are increasingly concerned that heroin and opium from Afghanistan enter China through other countries in South and Central Asia. In the past, quantities of heroin and methamphetamine produced in North Korea entered China’s northeastern provinces, but there have been intermittent indications of such drug trafficking from North Korea recently. Internal drug production problems exist as well, but Beijing claims that there are no heroin refineries in China. With a large and developed chemical industry, China is one of the world’s largest producers of licit chemicals, some share of which are diverted to illicit uses, including acetic anhydride, potassium permanganate, piperonylmethylketone (PMK), pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and ephedra, despite Chinese efforts to prevent such diversion.
China produces and monitors all 22 of the chemicals on the tables included in the 1988 UN Drug Convention. China continues to closely cooperate with the United States and other concerned countries in implementing a system of pre-export notification for dual-use precursor chemicals. China strictly regulates the import and export of precursor chemicals. According to NNCC statistics, PRC authorities successfully investigated 170 cases on illegal trade and smuggling of precursor criminals in 2008, and seized 1,113 tons of precursor chemicals (compared to 592 tons in 2007). China is a major producer of licit ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are diverted from licit use by drug criminals, and used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Many international law enforcement agencies believe that large-scale methamphetamine producers in other Asian countries and Mexico use Chinese-produced ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as a precursor. Numerous examples from criminal investigations confirm this suspicion. Diverted Chinese precursor chemicals may sustain synthetic drug production in other countries as far away as Mexico, Belgium, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. Although China enacted more stringent precursor chemical control laws in November 2005 and is engaged in multilateral and bilateral efforts to stop diversion from its chemical production sector, it has not yet found a way to effectively prevent diversion of precursor chemicals in its large chemical industry.

The NNCC reported an increase of drug users within China from 955,000 in 2007 to 1,126,700 in 2009. However, some officials acknowledge the actual number of addicts is much higher, and other published reports state that China might have as many as 15 million drug abusers. PRC Government reports indicate that 77.5 percent of all registered drug addicts are heroin users. Youth below the age of 35 make up the largest percentage of registered addicts (59.7 percent). In order to create a social environment for a “drugfree Olympics” in 2008, the PRC government conducted more rigorous screening and monitoring measures targeted on drug users. According to NNCC statistics for that year, 264,000 people received compulsory drug treatment, labor re-education treatment, and compulsory seclusion treatment throughout China.

As China’s economy has grown, its population has enjoyed increasing levels of disposable income and personal freedom, despite severe restrictions on many political and civil rights. Concomitantly, drug abuse has become more prevalent among China’s youth in large and mid-sized cities. The number of abusers of new drugs is increasing, and drugs such as crystal methamphetamine, Ecstasy, Ketamine, and triazolam have become more popular. Ecstasy’s popularity is increasing among the young in night clubs and karaoke bars in large cities and along China’s wealthy coast, particularly in Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and in China’s capital, Beijing.


III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is in the fifth year of its National People’s War on Illicit Drugs, begun in 2005 by President Hu Jintao. MPS designated five campaigns as a part of this effort: drug prevention and education; drug treatment and rehabilitation; drug source blocking and interdiction; “strike hard” drug law enforcement; and strict control and administration, designed to inhibit the diversion of precursor chemicals and other drugs. In November 2005, China passed an Administrative Law on Precursor Chemicals and implemented an Administrative Regulation on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. In the same month, China issued Provisional Administrative Regulations on the Export of Precursor Chemicals to Special Countries, strengthening the regulation of exports of 58 types of precursor chemicals to countries in the Golden Triangle.

Twenty-three of these precursor chemicals were classified as more stringently controlled. In March 2007, Chinese agencies involved in drug control completed the construction of an online database of drug users. In a June 2008 speech, PRC President Hu Jintao framed drug control as a long-term mandate that should focus on drug prevention and education, law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, drug administration, and international cooperation. As a result, the NNCC renewed its commitment to the People’s War on Drugs through the implementation of the Drug Control Law, which came into effect on June 1, 2008. To implement the Drug Control Law, the NNCC set up eight working groups that cover drug prevention and education, law enforcement intelligence, drug treatment and rehabilitation, community-based maintenance and treatment, administration of narcotic and psychotropic substances, control of precursor chemicals, basic policy research on eradicating drug sources abroad, opium poppy alternative development abroad, and revised responsibilities of member organizations for drug control. Reflecting this policy change, the Ministry of Finance and MPS increased the central government’s subsidy to local governments’ drug control funds from RMB 330 million in 2007 to RMB 500 million in 2008.

Some 2008 initiatives altered how the PRC government monitors drug activity. For example, civilians gained access to an online system to report crimes. The Mini-Dublin Group—an informal consultation and coordination mechanism for global, regional, and country-specific problems of illicit drugs production, trafficking and demand—stated in its 2009 Report that 61,900 drug offenses and crimes were reported in China during 2008, which resulted in the arrest of 74,400 suspects and the seizure of 4.33 tons of heroin, 1.38 tons of opium and 6.15 tons of “ice” (crystal meth) and tablets. To bolster drug intelligence and forensics capabilities, the MPS established the Drug Intelligence and Forensic Center (DIFC) in Beijing in June 2008. The DIFC is responsible for collection, research and application of drug control intelligence, international drug intelligence exchanges, research on drugs, studies on advanced forensic technologies, professional team development, and drug control training. In accordance with the 2004-2008 Drug Control Work Plan, the PRC government continued with its “Strike Hard” theme. As host of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2008, China increased its training of police to combat drug-related crimes. The PRC government pursued international initiatives such as signing an agreement with the European Union to exchange information on precursor chemicals; holding the 2009 Shanghai Opium Commission Conference in February 2009 (in commemoration of an historic event in international cooperation on drug control, held in 1909); holding narcotic control conferences at provincial and municipal levels during the year; continuing domestic public education campaigns; hosting the Ministerial Meeting of the Signatory Countries to the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control Conference; and providing support and training to cross-border partners such as Burma and Laos.

China continues to build on the counternarcotics Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) it has with Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and regularly hosts and/or participates in conferences and bilateral meetings. In November 2008, China signed a bilateral drug control cooperation MOU with Cambodia. The PRC Government has signed a total 18 bilateral drug control cooperation agreements/MOUs. China participates in counternarcotics education programs sponsored by the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), located in Bangkok, Thailand, and has provided training to neighboring countries. Chinese law enforcement agencies also continue to participate in Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-sponsored professional exchanges. China has several counternarcotics and transnational crime agreements with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries in Central Asia. China actively participated in an international cooperative effort with its neighbors in the Golden Triangle to reduce poppy cultivation in Laos and Burma. China continues to participate in United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) demand-reduction and crop-substitution efforts in areas along China’s southern borders and worked closely with Burma and Laos to perform a comprehensive review of alternative crops development. In May 2006, the State Council authorized an RMB250-million fund (approx. $32.5 million) for crop-substitution projects in northern Burma and Laos. In tandem with these two governments, the NNCC conducted a survey of opium cultivation in northern Burma by combining the approaches of satellite remote sensing and field surveys. The remote sensing and field surveys concluded that opium cultivation fell to 18,600 hectares in 2007, the lowest record in the past 30 years. Nevertheless, Burma remains the major source of opium entering China.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In China, three agencies have primary responsibility for controlling the licit/illicit drug markets: the MPS, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and the General Administration of Customs (GAC). Although they act independently, all three are part of the NNCC that forms drug policy in China. In 2008, public security agencies throughout China recorded 61,900 drug-related criminal cases, uncovered 1,565 drug trafficking groups, destroyed 244 clandestine labs, and arrested 73,400 drug suspects. These agencies seized a total of 4.33 tons of heroin, 1.38 tons of opium, 6.15 tons of “ice” and tablets, and 5.27 tons of Ketamine in that process. Ultimately, 50,307 suspects were charged with drugrelated crimes and prosecuted. To strengthen law enforcement counternarcotics efforts, the MPS established a joint task force on drug intelligence and implemented Administrative Measures for Drug Target Cases, which improved administration review, guidance, and coordination of ministry-level target cases. The counternarcotics effort included the State Post Bureau, whose trained staff helped uncover 123 drug trafficking cases via postal routes, capture 80 criminal suspects, and seize 123 kilograms of drugs. In total, China handled 2,698 cases involving drug seizures of over one kilogram, representing 65.84 percent and 73.23 percent, respectively, of the total volumes of heroin and ice seized from January to November of 2008.

In cooperation with Laos, Burma, Thailand and the Philippines, PRC authorities continued to carry out operation “Nail Eradication,” capturing 44 Chinese nationals living outside of China who were wanted as suspected leaders of drug trafficking rings and 7 drug lords, according to the NNCC. Since its launch in 2005, the “Nail Eradication” operation has resulted in 106 Chinese nationals being captured. The NNCC reported that the volume of heroin seized in connection with these major operations decreased from 10.8 tons in 2004 to 4.3 tons in 2008 due to the effects of this operation. According to the NNCC, China and Pakistan have strengthened counternarcotics cooperation, to include information-sharing and joint operations. Police counterparts from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Guangdong province, and Beijing worked together to break up an international “ice”-making and trafficking gang headed by a Fujian province native. As described above, China also carried out joint counternarcotics operations with other neighboring countries, including Laos, Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Furthermore, in 2008, China continued to cooperate with United States law enforcement agencies such as DEA. Most of this cooperation is on an ad hoc basis and focuses on targeting international drug rings. MPS has allowed DEA to interview witnesses in China.

In addition, at times, MPS facilitates the travel of U.S. law enforcement personnel based at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and provides the central government authorization required to arrange meetings with local MPS officials. On several occasions in the past, DEA has received drug samples from MPS and Customs for analysis and, in 2008, China agreed to provide samples to participate in the DEA heroin signature analysis program, but the U.S. Government would like to receive samples in a greater number of cases.
Corruption. Chinese leaders acknowledge that China has a very serious corruption problem. Anticorruption campaigns have led to arrests of many lower-level government personnel and some senior officials. Most corruption in China involves abuse of power, embezzlement and misappropriation of government funds, but payoffs to “look the other way” when questionable commercial activities occur are another major source of official corruption in China. While narcotics-related official corruption exists in China, it is seldom reported in the press. The Chinese press does, however, report instances of other types of official corruption, including embezzlement and bribery. In September 2008, for example, two former Bank of China managers and their wives were, with Chinese Government assistance, convicted of money laundering and racketeering in the United States. As a matter of policy, the Chinese Government does not permit, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of drug proceeds, either by individuals or government agencies.

No senior official of the PRC government is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. MPS takes allegations of drug-related corruption seriously, launching investigations when it deems appropriate. Most cases appear to involve lower-level district and county officials. There is no specific evidence indicating senior-level drug-related corruption. Nevertheless, the quantity of drugs trafficked within China raises suspicions that official corruption is a factor in trafficking in provinces such as Yunnan, Guangdong, and Fujian, where narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crimes are prevalent. Official corruption cannot be discounted among the factors enabling organized criminal networks to operate in certain regions of China, despite the efforts of central-level authorities. In a widely publicized 2009 string of cases in Chongqing, for example, numerous government officials were prosecuted for large scale graft, corruption, and a multitude of organized crime activities. China continues to be engaged in an anticorruption dialogue with the United States through the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JLG).

Narcotics-related corruption does not appear to have adversely affected ongoing law enforcement cases in which United States agencies have been involved. As part of its effort to stem the flow of corrupt Chinese officials who embezzle public funds and flee abroad to evade punishment, China ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in January 2006, shortly after the Convention entered into force in December 2005.

Agreements and Treaties. China is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and has signed, but not ratified, its Protocol on Trafficking in Firearms. The United States and China cooperate in law enforcement efforts under a mutual legal assistance agreement signed in 2000. There is no extradition treaty between the United States and China. In January 2003, the United States and China signed the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA). In February 2005, NNCC and DEA signed a memorandum of intent to establish a bilateral drug intelligence working group (BDIWG) to enhance cooperation and the exchange of information. In October 2009, the MPS hosted a BDIWG meeting with senior DEA officials in Beijing.

In July 2006 ONDCP and NNCC signed a memorandum of intent to increase cooperation in combating drug trafficking and abuse China cooperates with international chemical control initiatives in Operation Purple and accounts for 70 percent of the worldwide seizures of potassium permanganate that have been made in that operation. China also participates in Operation Topaz, an intergovernmental operation to detect and prevent precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of heroin, and Project Prism, which targets synthetic drug chemicals. China continued its participation in the ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD). In 2008, new bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics programs included the MPS training 165 officers from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as donating six drug detector dogs and five X-ray machines to the Pakistan Anti-Narcotics force. China’s MPS assigned liaison officers to serve in foreign posts and began their programs with officer assignments to Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and the United States.

Cultivation/Production. China effectively eradicated most drug-related crops within its borders. China’s mountainous and forested regions where illegal cultivation can occur are subject to aerial surveillance,    198 field surveys, and drug eradication. Due to China’s effective law enforcement, opium poppies are only grown in small quantities by ethnic minority groups for local consumption. Chinese officials state that there are no heroin refineries in China. Coca is not cultivated in China. However, China is a main source for natural ephedra, which is used in the licit production of ephedrine. China is also one of the world’s largest producers of ephedrine, licit synthetic pseudoephedrine, and ephedra products. China has a large pharmaceutical industry, and these products all have legitimate medicinal use, but they can also be used in the production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).

The PRC Government, supplemented by stricter controls in critical provinces such as Yunnan and Zhejiang, makes efforts to control exports of these key precursors. Despite these efforts, there is a widespread belief among law enforcement authorities in Asia and Mexico that large-scale production of methamphetamines—most notably in super and mega-labs in the Asia Pacific Rim and in Mexico—uses China-produced ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Large-scale seizures of Chinese-made chemicals that have been diverted are almost commonplace in law enforcement investigations around the world. Chinese authorities continued to seize clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. In the past, the majority of the labs were discovered and/or seized in Fujian and Guangdong provinces, although recently there have been laboratories seized in northeast China, specifically Shenyang and Liaoning province. On August 7, 2008, a special operations unit of MPS seized a methamphetamine manufacturing factory in Huizhou, China. The unit arrested six suspects and seized nearly 1,700 kilograms of mixed liquid substance containing methamphetamine.

Drug Flow/Transit. China continues to be used as a transshipment route for drugs produced in the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle for the international market, despite counternarcotics cooperation with neighbors such as Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. In particular, China remains a major heroin transshipment country in Asia because of its proximity to the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent. Other factors influencing China’s importance as a transit country include: economic liberalization; improvements to transportation, commercial, and communications infrastructure; porous borders along western China; continued production and trafficking of heroin by insurgent groups near the China-Burma border; increased effectiveness of law enforcement activities in other countries; and the lack of extradition treaties with consumer countries.

PRC authorities report that the majority of heroin produced in Burma travels via China to the international market. China shares a 2000-kilometer border with Burma, much of which lies in remote and mountainous areas, providing smugglers all-but-unrestricted access into China. In addition, there are many official crossings on the Burma-China border that also can be used to facilitate smuggling. Transit of drugs through Yunnan and Guangxi provinces to Guangdong province for storage, distribution, or repackaging has been especially widespread. Smaller amounts of heroin are also coming from Laos, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian countries. Traffickers continue to use Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai in Guangdong province as transit and transshipment points for heroin and crystal methamphetamine exiting China. In addition, Xiamen and Fuzhou in Fujian province are major exit points.

PRC authorities acknowledge that western China is experiencing significant problems as well. They report that drugs such as opium and heroin are being smuggled into Xinjiang province for distribution throughout China. They also report that of the heroin in China, a significant share is believed to be sourced from Afghanistan. They are concerned about heroin and opium from the Golden Crescent and report a steady increase in the flow of heroin from that region, specifically from Afghanistan. Consequently, there has been an increase in the number of Afghan heroin seizures throughout China. MPS and DEA report that Pakistan serves as a key trafficking route for heroin from Afghanistan into China.    
Xinjiang provincial law enforcement authorities claimed that one of the major domestic distribution routes for Southwest Asian heroin runs through Pakistan to Xinjiang province and then to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. According to the NNCC, the PRC government in 2008 had investigated a total of 238 drug trafficking cases from the Golden Crescent. PRC law enforcement officials arrested 284 suspects and seized 390 kilograms of drugs. 66.3 percent of the heroin seized in Xinjiang originated from the Golden Crescent, based on NNCC data. Heroin from the Golden Crescent also enters China through Guangdong province in southern China. Based on NNCC statistics, imports from the Golden Crescent region increased, resulting in 400 kilograms of Afghanistan heroin seized in southern China in 2008.

In September 2009, the MPS in a single case seized 145 kilograms of heroin and arrested numerous suspects including some from Pakistan and Afghanistan. From this case, it was shown that many more very large loads of Afghan heroin had been shipped to China in the past In addition to heroin, the Golden Crescent is the world’s largest source of raw opium, accounting for over 92 percent of the world’s annual supply. From approximately 157,000 hectares, more than 7,700 tons of opium has been produced recently in this area. Opium from the Golden Triangle had been declining for the past several years, but opium production increased in 2008 and again in 2009. Annual opium production increased to an estimate of 300 tons from a cultivated area of 24,300 hectares. Methamphetamine tablets trafficked from the Golden Triangle increased as well. In 2008, approximately 2.4 tons of methamphetamine tablets from northern Burma were seized in Yunnan province. West African Organized Crime Groups exacerbate China’s drug trafficking problem by continuing to recruit couriers from African and Southeast Asian countries. These couriers often transport narcotics via body packs or luggage concealment.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The demand for drugs, especially among China’s youth, remains high. The PRC Government’s Drug Control strategy is broadcast in various public media.

The NNCC and other related departments produce Drug Control Law textbooks, educational films, public service ads on television and radio, posters, and charts to ensure a wider distribution. From October to December 2008, the NNCC held a nationwide promotion campaign on the Drug Control Law to reach communities in urban and rural areas. The PRC government has been using more varied media tools to promote the Drug Control Law. The PRC government established an online database of drug users and addicts for monitoring purposes. As of February 2009, there were 1,146,000 registered existing drug users listed on the database, according to the 2009 Mini-Dublin Report. As many as 888,000 of those registered were heroin users, representing 77.5 percent of existing drug users in China. One positive outcome documented by the NNCC was that the annual growth rate of new heroin addicts decreased from 30 percent at its peak to 4.6 percent in 2008. The proportion of young abusers under the age of 35 fell from 82 percent to 51 percent. China’s drug education/treatment and rehabilitation centers emphasize long-term support and aftercare to prevent relapse and recidivism. These centers use “education through labor,” which builds life skills for rehabilitated drug addicts. In addition to the education through labor camps, the government used media campaigns, the establishment of drug-free communities, compulsory drug rehabilitation treatment, and voluntary rehabilitation centers to reduce drug demand. The total number of community-based drug maintenance and treatment clinics increased from 128 (in 2005) to 320 in 22 provinces, regions and municipalities. In 2008, 264,000 people received compulsory drug treatment, labor reeducation treatment, and compulsory seclusion treatment in China.

IV. China Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Counternarcotics cooperation between China and the United States continues to develop. Chinese authorities are working with the United States on a number of ongoing investigations and initiatives, including Golden Crescent heroin DTO (Drug Trafficking Organization) investigations, Chinese organized crime syndicates (DTOs) transporting and distributing South American cocaine around the world, and the use of precursors produced in China and subsequently illegally exported or diverted after exportation around the world. As previously mentioned, China hosted the third annual BDIWG in Beijing in October 2009. The 2005 Memorandum of Intent between DEA and MPS has led to a steady improvement in U.S.-China efforts to combat drug trafficking. In February 2008, the Narcotics Control Bureau of MPS and the DEA of the U.S. Department of Justice jointly conducted a transnational controlled delivery operation, in which an African drug trafficking gang active in China was thwarted. Four suspects were arrested, and 779 g of cocaine, 276 g of cannabis, and 600 g of other illicit drugs were seized.

Unfortunately, since then there have been no additional controlled delivery operations jointly conducted with DEA in China. It should be noted that during the last few months of 2009, the level of cooperation and intelligence exchange on active cases improved markedly, but despite these recent improvements, bilateral counternarcotics cooperation remains hindered by the limits China imposes on intelligence sharing and provincial-level interaction. While United States counternarcotics officials regularly provide leads and share information to support arrests and confiscations in China, their Chinese counterparts are restrained from providing information, even regarding successful apprehensions that result from U.S.-provided investigative leads. Further hindering the development of effective bilateral cooperation, MPS insists that U.S. counternarcotics officials channel all communications through the central office in Beijing. Direct interaction with MPS at the provincial level would be more effective and allow timely investigations and law enforcement actions.

The Road Ahead. One of the most significant problems in bilateral counternarcotics cooperation remains the lack of progress toward concluding a bilateral Letter of Agreement enabling the U.S. Government to extend counternarcotics assistance to China. Reaching agreement on a Letter of Agreement is a major U.S. goal that, if achieved, would greatly increase counternarcotics cooperation between the two countries. Obtaining timely access to witnesses and evidence in criminal investigations remains a challenge from the U.S. perspective. Despite these issues, bilateral enforcement cooperation remains on a positive track and is expected to continue to improve over the coming year.

Contact our China criminal defense lawyer, China drug crime defense lawyer, China narcotine crime defense lawyer for more information.

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