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Address by H. E. Mr. Meng Jianzhu, State Councillor of the P. R. China,at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference in Commemorationof the Centennial of the International Opium Commission



It is my great pleasure to join you in Shanghai to commemorate the convening of the International Opium Commission, which is a landmark event in the history of international anti-drug campaign.

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Government and in my own name, I wish to express my warm welcome to our colleagues who have travelled from afar. I also wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to you all for taking part in this conference, as it is an important event to reiterate our firm commitment against illicit drugs and support for the international drug control efforts.

One hundred years ago, our forerunners, deeply aware of the grave dangers posed by opium problem on economic and social development, acknowledged that no country could address the global menace of opium problem by itself.

One hundred years ago, they gathered in Shanghai and drafted the nine resolutions on opium control after 26 days of intense discussions,which demonstrated firm determination and commitment in opium control and laid a solid foundation for the international narcotics control endeavor.

For a century, it has been a long way for the international community to go through twists and turns in the field of narcotics control and finally come up with a modern international drug control framework, with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971  Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 standing at its core.

For a century, the international community has adopted diversified drug control strategies in response to the varying features of the drug problem at different times. In particular, since the 20th UN General Assembly Special Session on Drug Control in 1998, governments in the world have intensified drug control efforts and strengthened international drug control cooperation, which has produced visible results in drug demand and supply reduction and other relevant fields.

The century-long international drug control course has well demonstrated the development of nations of the world in acquiring better understanding of drug problem, improving effective international cooperation on drug control, and deploying more practical and diversified strategies and measures in addressing the drug issue. Never before have countries in the world taken the drug problem so seriously and considered it as much as crucial to human health, security, well-being and social progress.

In retrospect of the drug situation in the past century, especially in the decade since the 20th UN General Assembly Special Session on Drug Control in 1998, we are grateful to note that governments, through their concerted efforts, have made great progress in curbing the spread of illicit drugs. In particular, there has been a remarkable decrease in opium poppy cultivation in the "Golden Triangle" region in Southeast Asia for several consecutive years. The development evidences that regional drug problem could be effectively resolved through consistent and close international drug control cooperation.

Meanwhile, we should not fail to see that the global scourge of drug problem is still spreading and the drug issue in some hotspot regions continues to pose a grave threat to the international community. The international drug control effort is facing new concerns and challenges such as diversified new type of illicit drugs, imbalance between measures in drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction, continued diversion of precursor chemicals into illicit channels, and lack of experience and funds for sustainable alternative development. The achievements made by the international community in drug control remain fragile with strong possibility of reverse. The drug control course is thus a course of long and arduousness.

The drug issue concerns the survival and development of all humanity. The drug problem generates a major threat to political stability, impedes social and economic development and adds to the burden on the society and governments. Mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation has become the common choice for nations in the world. Only through enhanced international cooperation, evidence-based guidance, institutional innovation and practical efforts, will we be able to mobilize the strength of the whole mankind and promote the international drug control endeavor up to a new level. To this end, we would like to make the following recommendations: 

First, strong determination and confidence on drug control should be ensured under the basic principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international laws. International drug control cooperation and coordination should be further enhanced in meeting the common challenges on the basis of mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality, mutual benefit, non-interference into each other's internal affairs and respect for all human rights and basic freedoms. Continuous efforts should be in place for a full implementation of the mandates identified in the Political Declaration, Action Plans and Guidelines adopted by the 20th UN General Assembly Special Session on Drug Control in 1998.

Second, the comprehensive and balanced approach should be pursued with shared responsibilities in drug demand and supply reduction. Countries should collect and share scientific evidence-based new experiences and apply a common strategy of global consensus to tackle the new illicit drugs including amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Consistent efforts at national, regional and international levels should be focused on the prevention of diversion of precursor chemicals into illicit channels. A comprehensive and balanced strategy in drug demand and supply reduction should be secured. Intensified efforts should be directed to the eradication of illicit cultivation of drug plants cultivation and sustainable alternative development.

Third, it should be fully aware of the increasing connections between drug crimes and other transnational organized crimes such as terrorism, money-laundering and corruption. Close and practical judicial assistance and law enforcement cooperation on criminal matters should be further enhanced on a broader basis, with improved drug control policies and strategies and domestic legal system.

Fourth, the resolve of drug problem is a global challenge for all. Concerted effort on drug control is a need for all governments and the international society. Necessary financial and technical assistance should be provided to developing countries and countries under serious impacts of illicit drugs.

Having suffered great pains from the scourge of illicit drugs, the Chinese people cherish an undying hatred for illicit drugs.

The Chinese Government has all along attached great importance to drug control, implemented strict drug control policies, and adopted a series of effective measures in this regard. We have further strengthened the fight against drug-related crimes and the administration of precursor chemicals, improved anti-drug education and drug rehabilitation, and gathered practical drug-control experience supported by scientific evidence. These measures have produced remarkable results in curbing the growth of drug sources, drug demands and new drug addicts. The Anti-Drug Law of the People's Republic of China enacted on December 2007 and in effect on 1 June 2008 as well as other drug control laws and regulations have further enhanced the inter-sectoral, multi-discipline and all-dimensional drug control capacity of China.

The Chinese Government has always followed a comprehensive approach in drug control by addressing both the symptoms and root causes. We have taken into balanced account of the need to reduce drug demand and supply, and adopted a people-oriented and scientific evidence-based drug control approach. We have committed ourselves to international cooperation, and actively supported and participated in international drug control efforts. China shares the same interests with the rest of the world on the issue of drug control. It is our common objective to build a world without illicit drugs. 

Reviewing the international drug control progress in the past century, from the date of  convening of the 1909 International Opium Commission in Shanghai to the time of the adoption of the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, we may arrive at the conclusion that the improvement of the international drug control system has prevented from happening a global disaster derived from illicit drugs. Against the new backdrop in the 21st century, the scourge of illicit drugs remains a serious threat to the international community and presents new challenges to all countries in the world. I am convinced that as long as we pursue the spirit of shared responsibilities and mutual trust, with our wisdom and talent, through coordinated and scientific evidence-based, comprehensive and balanced actions, we will surely be able to meet our political commitments and contribute our shares to a harmonious and progressive society for all.

Finally I wish the meeting a complete success.



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