In China, Drugs Are Just a Click Away

By McCarton Ackerman 01/03/13

YouTube and Facebook are banned in China, but sites peddling illegal drugs are thriving.

Prosecuting internet drug pushers is not a
top priority in China.

Websites like Facebook and YouTube may be blocked in China, but government officials seem to be turning a blind eye to Chinese-language sites selling illegal drugs, The New York Times reports. One site offers a large quantity of wholesale meth for $19,700, and same-day home deliveries of $50-100 packages of ecstasy and cocaine, among other items, have reportedly become commonplace. One Internet vendor even carries the date-rape drug GHB—chillingly referred to as "obedience liquid" in its advertising. “Our company has delivery stations in every part of China,” boasts one website, alongside photos of the illegal narcotics it sells. “We offer 24-hour delivery service to your door, and we have long-term and consistent supplies. If you just make one phone call, we’ll deliver to your hands in one to five hours.” Although selling drugs online is illegal in China and traffickers are routinely executed, the fact that the sites aren't shut down or even blocked suggests that it's not a top government priority. It's also becoming possible for Chinese web users to learn more about their favorite drugs on sites like YouTube; even though the video site is blocked, many web users sidestep the restriction via a virtual private network (VPN). In response, the government rolled out new software in the last month that interferes with VPNs.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.