China Marks Anti-Drug Day With Executions

A Chinese policeman lights a cauldron filled with illicit drugs.A Chinese policeman lights a cauldron filled with illicit drugs.Six people were executed as China prepared to mark a global anti-drug day, state press said Friday.

The punishments, for four separate cases of manufacturing, smuggling and selling ketamine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana, bring to 14 the number of executions announced this week.

June 26 marks the UN’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a date when China has traditionally executed and sentenced convicted drug traffickers to illustrate its resolve in fighting the scourge.

The latest executions were announced by the Supreme Court on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported, without detailing when they took place.

Xia Zhijun and He Pingquan manufactured more than 320 kilograms (705 pounds) of ketamine in the southwestern province of Sichuan in 2007, Xinhua said. Officials confiscated more than 280 kilograms of the drug, along with a gun and 14 bullets.

In another case in southern Yunnan Province, Zhu Yufeng and Wang Zhengyuan were executed for organising the cross-border smuggling of 35 kilograms of methamphetamine and 38 kilograms from Myanmar in 2008, the report said.

In a third case, Liu Wei was convicted of manufacturing and selling some 160 kilograms of liquid heroin, enough for 50,000 injections, in 2006 and 2007 in northeast China.

Li Dezhong was found to have sold 32 kilograms of ketamine along with 197 grams of methamphetamine and 450 grams of marijuana, Xinhua said.

Eight drug dealers were executed in southern China on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Xinhua.

Drug use was virtually eliminated after the Communist rise to power in 1949, but the problem has returned since the country began opening up to the world again three decades ago.

The number of criminal drug cases rose to 77,000 last year, up 26 percent from 2008, according to official figures.

– Article from AFP.