Mon, Jul 20, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Chinese authorities plan crackdown on party drugs, venues

DPA , BEIJING

Authorities plan to launch a crackdown on party drugs and venues linked to them in advance of 60th anniversary celebrations for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) this autumn, local news outlets reported on Saturday.

Clubs and other entertainment venues linked to drug-related crimes would be shut down or have their licenses revoked as part of the initiative, Xinhua news agency said, quoting a statement from the National Narcotics Control Commission.

Owners of such places would also face police investigation.

The decision to focus on entertainment venues comes after the arrest of 40-year-old Chinese pop star Man Wenjun, who was caught in a drug raid on a popular Beijing night club in May.

Man was detained for two weeks and went on national TV to apologize for being a “bad influence” after his release.

Authorities are also worried about an increase in the use of party drugs in Beijing, the People’s Daily reported, with more arrests focusing on the use of methamphetamine, ecstasy and ketamine.

Nearly 80 percent of drug addicts abuse heroin, Deputy Minister of Public Security Zhang Xinfeng (張新楓) told local media late last year.

As part of the crackdown, anyone considered a drug addict could be forced into treatment, which might include forcible isolation or supervision to help kick the habit.

Drug users who are caught by authorities must register with the National Narcotics Control Commission. Their names are only removed after three years of being drug-free, an earlier report in the People’s Daily said.

China had more than 1 million registered drug addicts last year, the report said.

But experts say the number of addicts nationwide could be as high as 9 million.

The Oct. 1 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC marks a sensitive time for the government, which has already increased control in several areas.

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