Drug Abuse Crackdown in China Targets Foreigners

By John Lavitt 09/02/14

In an effort to crack down on drug abuse, China is forcing foreigners to provide random urine samples under the threat of detention.

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Chinese Communist Party officials are being accused of using a crackdown on illegal drug abuse as a tactic for targeting foreigners for eviction.

Although Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee Chan, was born in Hong Kong, he currently is based in Taiwan. His arrest for marijuana possession in China could have been a high profile example of this new trend.

Since it relaxed trade and migration restrictions, China has seen a growing problem with the importation and abuse of illegal drugs. Despite the arrest of Jaycee Chan with Taiwanese actor Ko Chen-Tung on August 14, marijuana is not the main target of the new Chinese efforts. The arrest of the high profile cases was more a case of raising public awareness and building support for the government crackdown. In reality, the central focus of the crackdown are synthetic drugs like crystal meth that Chinese Communist Party officials claim are being imported through Europe and America.

In a bid to crack down on the abuse, the Communist Party has ordered random drug tests in bars and clubs. Carried out in major cities, including Beijing, foreigners are being forced to provide urine samples on the threat of detention. The urine samples are instantly tested. If a foreigner tests positive, they are detained and taken to their place of residence by police to collect their possessions, then immediately deported.

In terms of the future extension of these policies, reports say that in order to qualify for a Chinese visa in future, foreigners will have to undergo a drug test that will be administered by Chinese authorities in international embassies. Given the history of Chinese anti-foreign sentiment in regards to drugs that dates back to the First Opium War, expatriate residents fear the testing campaign is the beginning of a greater witch hunt against foreigners in China.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.