Golden Triangle threat increases

Updated: 2016-06-24 09:08

By ZHANG YI(China Daily)

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China is under growing pressure from drugs smuggled in from the Golden Triangle area, where poppy cultivation remains high, according to the country's top anti-drug authority.

Ninety-five percent of the heroin seized in China last year came from the Golden Triangle-a drug-producing area that overlaps the mountains of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, China's National Narcotics Control Commission has said.

"Drugs from the Golden Triangle are penetrating China on all fronts. We're facing mounting pressure year by year," an official from the commission said in a written interview with China Daily.

"Whether we can effectively curb drugs from this region will directly affect the success of China's fight against narcotics," said the official, who declined to be named, ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on Sunday.

A report released on Thursday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also said that trafficking out of the Golden Triangle area is increasing, mainly due to rising levels of opium production in Myanmar since 2006.

Although poppy cultivation worldwide fell last year by 11 percent year-on-year to about 281,000 hectares-due mainly to a decline in Afghanistan-Myanmar's cultivation area remained almost unchanged, accounting for 20 percent of the world's total, the report stated.

Cultivation in the Golden Triangle mainly fuels drug consumption in East and Southeast Asia, the report added.

The official said it is vitally important to curb the influx of drugs from border areas in Southwest China.

Last year, 7.3 tons of heroin from the Golden Triangle were seized in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, accounting for 83 percent of heroin seized nationwide, according to the commission.

The official said drug traffickers are using more complicated and secretive methods and technologies. Trafficking routes are spread out along the long border between China and Myanmar, making narcotics control very difficult.

Chen Shuaifeng, a drugs expert at People's Public Security University of China, said political instability in northern Myanmar is the main reason for the unabated flow of drugs into China from the border areas between the two countries.

"The central government lacks control of the local ethnic minority armed forces in northern parts of Myanmar, where opium poppy planting is rampant and the cultivation area has been expanding steadily in recent years," he said.

Chen said the key to curbing the drugs problem in the Golden Triangle is to stabilize the political situation in the area.

He said replacement planting has been an effective method to curb poppy production, and he advised Chinese law enforcement departments and other departments to work more closely with Myanmar on this.

Li Yingqing in Kunming contributed to this story.