2008-06-25 10:24:13 GMT 2008-06-25 18:24:13 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
by Xinhua writer Wang Cong
BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- China's increased efforts of international cooperation on the fight against narcotics have helped curb drug supplies, especially from the notorious Golden Triangle, to the country in recent years, a top anti-drug official said here Wednesday.
"The amount of drugs entering China from the Golden Triangle, which encompasses Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, has fallen as a result of international cooperation," Yang Fengrui, deputy secretary-general of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, told a press conference.
Opium cultivation area in Myanmar has dropped from 165,300 hectares at the peak time several years ago to 18,600 hectares today, said Yang, also director of the Bureau of Narcotics Control under the Ministry of Public Security.
He said China seized 10.8 tons of heroin in 2004, but the amount fell to 4.6 tons in 2007.
"China and Myanmar are neighboring countries, and the latter is the major source of drug supplies to the former," Yang said.
"Although we have worked harder in recent years to crack drug-related cases, the amount of drugs we seized has dropped, meaning that we have successfully curbed the entry of drugs to China to a certain extent," Yang said.
He attributed the drop mainly to efforts made by Myanmar's government and people in cutting back opium cultivation. But Yang said cooperation between Myanmar and China and the international community was indispensable.
"China and Myanmar have exchanged intelligence and joined forces in cracking multinational drug deals," Yang said. "Myanmar has helped China in arresting a number of drug traffickers and seizing a great deal of drugs."
China has invested close to 700 million yuan (about 100 million U.S. dollars) on crop substitution programs in Myanmar and Laos over the past few years and offered 100,000 tons of food and medical aid to people who have stopped farming opium.
"China will continue to cooperate with Myanmar on intelligence exchanges, fighting drug traffickers, eradicating drugs, personnel training and helping the Myanmar government with substitution programs, to reduce the harm drugs can bring to the world," Yang said.
But he said China's anti-drug campaign is far from a "decisive victory," noting that drugs from abroad are still entering the country in great volumes while domestic drug production is burgeoning.
"We will intensify our efforts to cut drug supplies from abroad and raise public awareness on the hazards of drug use to ensure a 'drug-free' Olympics," Yang said.