Q: On May 30, the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned 13 China-based entities and individuals under the pretext of involvement in the international proliferation of equipment used to produce illicit drugs. Do you have any comment?
A：While saying it hopes to resume counter-narcotics cooperation with China on various occasions, the US has again brazenly sanctioned Chinese individuals and entities, which is a serious violation of the lawful rights and interests of the companies and individuals concerned. China strongly condemns this.
The pretext the US fabricated this time is that these Chinese entities and individuals are involved in the sale of pill press machines, die molds, and other equipment to the US and Mexico. However, it is widely known that pill press machines and die molds are common commodities with legitimate uses and are widely used in normal industrial production. According to the common practice across the world, to ensure that the goods imported are not used for illicit purposes is not only the basic responsibility of the enterprises, but also the legal obligation of the governments of importing countries.
The Chinese government takes a firm stance on counter-narcotics. Guided by the humanitarian spirit, we have worked with the US to help solve its fentanyl abuse. In May 2019, China became the first country in the world to officially schedule fentanyl-related substances as a class, which played an important role in preventing the illicit manufacturing, trafficking and abuse of the substance. The US, however, in disregard of China’s goodwill, used the so-called “human rights issue” in Xinjiang to impose sanctions on the Institution of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Public Security and the National Narcotics Laboratory of China. Now the US is imposing new sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals and attempting to blame China for its own fentanyl problem. This has seriously eroded the foundation for China-US counter-narcotics cooperation.
The US itself is the root cause of its drug problems. With 5% of the world’s population, the US consumes 80% of the world’s opioids. Yet the US still has not permanently scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a class. As China and the rest of the world strengthen control of fentanyl-related substances, the fentanyl issue in the US has been deteriorating and taking away even more lives. The US needs to do some serious reflections on this. Instead of working to reduce the demand for drugs at home, strengthen management of prescription drugs and step up public awareness campaigns about the harm of narcotics, the US has resorted to grossly sanctioning other countries in an attempt to mislead the public and deflect the blame for its inaction. This is clear to the American people and the rest of the world.
The US sanctions against Chinese companies and citizens will add more obstacles to China-US counter-narcotics cooperation. Such moves hurt others as well as the US itself. If the US truly wants to solve its drug problem, it should respect facts, reflect on itself, correct its wrongdoing, and stop shifting the blame. China will continue to do what is necessary to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals.