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Xinhua Insight: China's anti-drugs war: a tale of two villages

English.news.cn   2014-06-26 17:18:38

BEIJING, June 26 (Xinhua) -- When Cai Longqiu was appointed party chief of Boshe Village, he was fully aware that the journey ahead would be long and arduous.

Boshe under Lufeng City in south China's Guangdong Province used to be labeled the country's "number one drug village" as it supplied over a third of the nation's crystal meth.

In a raid on Dec. 29, local police seized three tonnes of the drug, closed 77 clandestine meth laboratories and arrested 182 people.

Cai, 43, who is in charge of village's medical center, was appointed party chief on May 20. He replaced Cai Dongjia, who was also Boshe's drug capo. About 20 percent of households were involved in drug production and trafficking.

Since taking office, Cai Longqiu has been busy trying to rebuild the village, which has a population of 14,000.

The first thing on his agenda was to clean up the village. Mounds of drug-related debris could be found on the streets and in fields, contaminating soil and water.

He has set up six garbage sites, with five people responsible for cleaning them every day.

Boshe is often flooded in the rainy season because of inadequate drainage. A new drainage system is under construction. Cai said irrigation channels will also be restored to help develop the village's agriculture.

Since the police raid three recruitment fairs have been held in the village, helping 100 young people get jobs in nearby townships.

Police officers have also increased their presence in the village.

Li Jianzhao is one of them. "Most of the villagers are not involved in drugs, and they are supportive of our patrols," he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to severely punish drug-related offenders and contain the spread of drugs.

In a written instruction on Wednesday ahead of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls on Thursday, Xi called on authorities to be aware of the dangers of drugs and adopt measures to wipe them out.

If Boshe Village reflects China's determination in cracking down on drug production, Tangbiao Village in neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is an example in rehabilitating addicts.

In the 1980s drug-taking became rife in the village, which now has a population of more than 4,000.

Villager Wei Liang became addicted to drugs 22 years ago. He finally kicked his habit in 2008. Wei founded the village's anti-drug team in 2012, which targets trafficking as well as helping addicts.

Wei recalled that the main road to the village used to be a gathering spot for drug users. Needles and tinfoil could be found all around.

Today, anti-drug team members patrol the village by foot or on motorbikes. The team have the authority to seize drug users or those involved in drugs and hand them over to the police.

Villagers help fund the work of the anti-drug team. Its fund has more than 30,000 yuan (4,878 U. S. dollars).

Since it has been up and running the team has seized seven drug users and persuaded two people to attend a drug rehabilitation center.

Village officials said the number of addicts is dropping and that villagers are being educated about the harm of drugs.

China has launched a series of campaigns in recent years to clamp down of drug-related crimes. Courts sentenced 39,762 criminals for drug-related offences in the first five months of 2014, up 27.38 percent year on year, the Supreme People's Court announced on Wednesday.

Editor: Xiang Bo
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