The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Saturday that China strongly condemned U.S.' latest charges against Chinese companies and individuals over so-called crimes related to fentanyl production and has lodged serious démarches and strong protest to the U.S. side.
U.S. law enforcement personnel ensnared Chinese nationals through "sting operation" in a third-country and blatantly pressed charges against Chinese entities and individuals. This is typical arbitrary detention and unilateral sanction, which is completely illegal. It seriously harms the basic human rights of the Chinese nationals and the interests of the Chinese companies concerned. China strongly condemns this move and has lodged serious démarches and strong protest to the U.S. side, a spokesperson from the ministry told media.
Things the U.S. has so far been doing to address its concerns over the drug problem—be it pressure tactics, coercion or some kind of illegal operations—are essentially all about scapegoating. This will not work and benefit no one, the spokesperson said.
"We urge the U.S. to stop shifting the blame, stop smearing and attacking China, immediately lift all sanctions on Chinese counter-narcotics law enforcement institutions, stop using fentanyl-related issues as a pretext to sanction, indict or offer awards to hunt Chinese companies or nationals, stop the arbitrary detentions, and immediately release the Chinese nationals under illegal arrest," the spokesperson said, noting that China will continue to do what is necessary to firmly defend the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and nationals.
The remarks came as the U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday the arrest of two individuals and the unsealing of three indictments in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York charging China-based companies and their employees with crimes related to fentanyl production, distribution, and sales resulting from precursor chemicals.
Coming less than one week after Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that he and Chinese officials had agreed to explore setting up a working group and make joint efforts to shut off the flow of precursor chemicals, the indictments showed the U.S.' disrespect for China's efforts in cracking down on the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl and will damage the two sides' cooperation in the field, experts warned.
In recent years, China has reiterated that the root to the problem of fentanyl abuse in the U.S. lies in the country's own false policies and loose management, not in China, which has implemented strict management on fentanyl. Sanctions or lawsuits against Chinese companies and individuals are typical forms of long-arm jurisdiction and disrespect China's sovereignty and fentanyl control efforts, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.
It is regrettable that the U.S. has turned an issue on which it could have cooperated with China and saved lives into a controversial topic to smear and attack China, according to Li.
On May 30, the U.S. sanctioned 17 individuals and entities in China and Mexico, accusing them of shipping or selling equipment that Mexican drug cartels use to manufacture fentanyl-spiked fake pills that fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has strongly slammed the sanctions.
At a press conference on Wednesday, China's National Narcotics Control Commission (CNNC) also expressed strong dissatisfaction with and opposition to the U.S. over its sanctions and smearing of Chinese companies and individuals over Chinese exports of chemicals and equipment to Mexico, and released data showing China's zero-tolerance approach and remarkable results in dealing with the drug problem.