China condemns U.S. sanctions over common pill press machines
Updated 11:40, 31-May-2023

The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. has strongly condemned sanctions on 13 China-based entities and individuals over alleged involvement "in the international proliferation of equipment used to produce illicit drugs."

The U.S. move is misleading the public over its own failure to tackle the country's rampant drug problems, the embassy said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Earlier the same day, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned people and businesses in China and Mexico that allegedly "helped provide machines used to make counterfeit prescription drugs in the latest efforts to confront trafficking of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl."

"Treasury's sanctions target every stage of the deadly supply chain fueling the surge in fentanyl poisonings and deaths across the country," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement.

China-exported pill press machines and molds that the U.S. blamed for facilitating Mexico's counterfeit drug making are normal machines that are legally and commonly used in industrial medicine making, the embassy said.

Noting that the Chinese government has a firm stance on counter-narcotics and has worked with the U.S. to help solve its fentanyl abuse, the embassy said "the U.S. has again sanctioned Chinese individuals and entities, which is a serious violation of the lawful rights and interests of the companies and individuals concerned."

With 5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. consumes 80 percent of the world's opioids, the embassy said, adding that "yet the U.S. still has not permanently scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a class."

As China and the rest of the world strengthen control of fentanyl-related substances, fentanyl abuse in the U.S. has been deteriorating and taking away even more lives, it said.

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl more than tripled in the United States from 2016 through 2021, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released this month.

According to Reuters, the U.S. has been seeking greater help from China in stemming the illicit flow of fentanyl precursor chemicals from China, but U.S. officials claimed that "Chinese counterparts have been reluctant to cooperate as relations between the two countries have soured."

Instead of working to reduce the demand for drugs at home, strengthen management of prescription drugs and step up public awareness campaigns about the harm of narcotics, the U.S. has resorted to grossly sanctioning other countries in an attempt to mislead the public and deflect the blame for its inaction, the embassy said.

The U.S. sanctions against Chinese companies and citizens will add more obstacles to China-U.S. counter-narcotics cooperation, and China will continue to do what is necessary to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals, it added.

(Cover: The Chinese Embassy in the United States, Washington, D.C., U.S. /Xinhua)

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