China will push for the establishment of an anti-drug agency within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to better fight cross-border trafficking, a senior anti-narcotics official with the Ministry of Public Security said.
“The agency is expected to coordinate the anti-drug cooperation efforts among SCO members, such as in intelligence sharing, case investigation, joint law enforcement operations and personnel training,” Wei Xiaojun, deputy director of the ministry’s Narcotics Control Bureau, told China Daily.
He did not give a timetable for its establishment, but said Chinese public security authorities are willing to negotiate with their counterparts from other SCO member countries.
China will also seek closer cooperation with other SCO members to more precisely target transnational drug trafficking routes and underground drug factories, as well as to cut their capital chains, Wei said.
“We’ll work closely with our counterparts to go through clues for some cases and join hands in cracking them,” he said. A joint action among SCO members is expected in the second half of this year to seize drugs and chemicals that are easy to make into drugs, he said.
China and other SCO members border two major global drug sources — the Golden Triangle, which straddles Laos, Myanmar and Thailand; and the Golden Crescent, which consists of parts of Central and South Asia.
Currently, the world is seeing an increasingly severe drug problem, with the sources, categories and addicts of drugs all on the rise.
Last year, the opium production in Afghanistan was estimated at 9,000 metric tons, up by 87 percent year-on-year. Opium production last year in the Golden Triangle was expected to increase 15 percent from a year earlier, according to data provided by the ministry.
China faces a grim situation regarding drugs, too, Wei said. Chinese traffickers have colluded with foreign counterparts to operate criminal rings, and drug trafficking has become more “intelligent and technology-based”.
Since 2012, Chinese police have cracked about 860,000 drug-related cases, including 16,000 transnational trafficking cases. A total of 1.12 million suspects have been arrested and 459 tons of drugs were confiscated, according to the ministry.
“Drug crimes can lead to many other violent crimes, “Wei said. “Drug producing and trafficking, transnational organized crimes, illegal fund flow, corruption and terrorism ... all these closely interweave with each other, seriously threatening international and regional stability and development.”
Wei said China will beef up cooperation with SCO members to monitor the drug trade in the region, including their distribution and production, trafficking and capital flow, while holding regular meetings to exchange information and study regional drug situations.
Joint efforts will also be made to reduce drug demand and strengthen anti-drug education programs to fundamentally curb drug-related crimes, he said.