Stopping Illegal Drug Trafficking in China

April 21, 2015

The expansion of poppy growing in recent years has created problems around the globe.

Even at one of the most remote border inspection stations in the world, the frontier guards must be vigilant against drug traffickers.

For instance, one border post in Xinjiang province along the border of China and Pakistan is at an altitude of 5,100 meters (almost 17,000 feet). The oxygen at this altitude is less than half of sea level. This is where China’s Hongqilafu border station stands.

In the last few years, more drugs have been smuggled across the Sino-Pakistani border because of the expansion of poppy growing in Afghanistan.

In fact, United Nations statistics show that 87% of all illegal heroin in the world comes from Afghanistan.

Khunjerab Pass

Li Shengyu, commander of the Hongqilafu Border Inspection Station says, “They need buyers for the huge amount of drugs. As far as we know, the drug dealers are targeting China as a new market and plan to make their way into China across the border at Hongqilafu.”

Between 2006 and 2008, huge amounts of drugs were intercepted at border stations. The Chinese border guards must be vigilant to discover hidden drugs among the tourists coming into China.

The most common method of smuggling is to hide the opium from Afghanistan in the smuggler’s luggage. The smugglers will also use other tricks to fool the inspectors.

At the Hongqilafu Border Inspection Station, one team of inspectors checks the luggage inside the station while another team inspects the empty bus.

China’s border guards even go under the tourist busses and check the bottom.  Sniffer dogs were sent to the station but the dogs died due to lack of oxygen.

The conditions at the border station have been improved over the years. At one time, the guards lived in trailers.  Now, they live in a new, updated border station in a permanent building.

One officer, who has been at the station for more than a decade, said, “In the past, when it was extremely cold in late winter, we couldn’t sleep at night. Sometimes the temperature fell so low that when I got up in the morning, I found that part of my cap had been frozen to the wall of the camper van.”

Grenztor nach Pakistan am Khunjerab Pass (4730m)

Khunjerab Pass (elevation 4,693 meters or 15,397 feet)

The Khunjerab Pass on the border between China and Pakistan is open from May 1 to October 31. For the rest of the year when the area is covered in ice and snow, the pass is closed. Yet, the border guards must be stationed there during the six months of the off season, and it’s a tough assignment even with improved living conditions.

As China has opened up more to the outside world, the Hongqilafu Border crossing is open to other nationalities than just Pakistanis. Each year, more tourists visit China along this route.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

2015 Promotion Image for My Splendid Concubine

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The growing epidemic of illegal Drug use in China

February 4, 2015

There is a price that comes with living in a so-called “free” world with human rights that extend to every citizen — even hard-core criminals.

Besides violent crime and human trafficking (slavery), one of those challenges is the illegal drug trade.

For instance, in the United States, The DEA reports that Mexican drug cartels are making a bigger push to organize their black market activities in the United States, Europe and neighboring Latin American countries.

In fact, the US Justice Department reported, “The illegal drug market in the United States is one of the most profitable in the world.”

What about China? Between 1950 – 1976, China had little crime and had eliminated illegal drug use.  Under Mao, the drug traffickers were executed and addicts either rehabilitated or shot. Those who survived fled to Hong Kong, Macao, Europe and the United States. But after Mao’s death, that started to change.

Until the 1970s, China’s economy was managed by the communist government and was kept closed from other economies. Together with political reforms, China in the early 1980’s began to open its economy and signed a number of regional trade agreements.

Eventually China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001. This meant that China could only engage in trade with the world following rules the CCP did not make. After China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), the service sector was considerably liberalized and foreign investment was allowed; restrictions on retail, wholesale and distribution ended. Banking, financial services, insurance and telecommunications were also opened up to foreign investment.

That’s when the illegal business of trafficking in illegal drugs returned to China with a vengeance.

Since the early 1980’s, due to China’s economic boom to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty, some parts of the country now battle social problems, including soaring rates of drug addiction. One of the worst affected areas is China’s southern province of Yunnan, the entry point for most heroin.

Yunnan’s border is easy to cross from the infamous Golden Triangle. In Yunnan, a fix of heroin costs about the same as a US chocolate bar.

To deal with this challenge, Chinese authorities send heroin addicts to a drug rehabilitation center at the provincial capital of Yunnan province, which is where the largest drug rehabilitation center in the world is located.

The heroin addicts spend two years in a strict rehabilitation program to help kick the habit. However, once released, many return to addiction.

The Atlantic.com reports that “The country’s economy has exploded over the past quarter-century. … Only 25 years ago, narcotics and illicit drug use were nearly unheard of. Today, Chinese society and government authorities are increasingly grappling with the explosion in drug use and drug addicts, as well as how to respond to the phenomenon. With more relaxed borders, increased wealth, and greater individual freedoms, drug addiction and its consequences threaten to become a permanent fixture within Chinese society.”

In 1992, there were less than 180,000 registered drug abusers in China. By 2014, that number had climbed to about 2.5 million.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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The Double Standard of Blind Justice – Does it apply in China?

April 23, 2014

First, to keep this issue in perspective: USA Today reported (back in November 2013) that “Fatal hit-and-run crashes on rise in U.S.”

USA Today said, “Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes (this means someone was killed) is trending upward, from 1,274 in 2009, to 1,393 in 2010, to 1,449 in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available.”

Now to China (which usually gets roasted in the US media without any balance or perspective)—ChinaSMACK said a foreigner driving drunk and without a license, hit a 23-year old Yiwu girl crossing a street in a crosswalk.

If you believe the Chinese media is completely controlled and censored, you may be surprised to learn that ChinaSMACK is a daily-updated collection of translated Internet content from the Chinese-language Internet.

ChinaSMACK (launched in 2008) covers stories, pictures, videos, and topics that have become very popular and have spread across China’s major BBS forums, social networking websites, or through forwarded e-mails sent between normal Chinese people every day.

ChinaSMACK attracts millions of visits and page views each month featuring a vibrant community of commenters.

ChinaSMACK did not identify the foreigner (laowai), who was driving drunk without a license. The victim was thrown over 20 meters (more than 65 feet), and she died in the hospital.

The laowai sped away from the scene to avoid being caught, but the Chinese police tracked him down and arrested him. The victim’s family is poor and her father died three years ago.

The first two comments to the ChinaSMACK post said, “If you had hit a person, you too would be arrested and administratively detained first and then what should be done will be done. Laowai cannot escape Chinese legal punishment.”

“Our country’s criminal law does not put foreigners outside of our country’s criminal law. As long as the foreigner does something that matches a crime in our country’s criminal law, then the foreigner cannot escape the criminal laws punishment.”


This news clip talks about drunk driving and hit-and-run accidents in China

The next story is about the killing of a 20-year-old college girl in another hit-and-run.  When confronted, it was reported that the drunk driver (Li Qiming) yelled, “My father is Li Gang!” Li Gang was a high-ranking police officer and a member of the Communist Party. The victim was the daughter of a 49-year-old peasant from rural China.

The father of the victim said in an interview, “I’m just a peasant.  If it is unfair, let it be.”

However, an angry Chinese public on the Internet overruled the victim’s father and refused to “let it be.”  Although there have been many hit-and-run accidents in Hubei province, there was anger at China’s powerful elite and the arrogance of some children of money and power.

If you want to learn more about the rich, powerful and famous escaping punishment for horrible crimes, read Celebrity Justice: Prison Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Matt Clarke writes: “There are two criminal justice systems in the United States. One is for people with wealth, fame or influence who can afford to hire top-notch attorneys and public relations firms, who make campaign contributions to sheriffs, legislators and other elected officials, and who enjoy certain privileges due to their celebrity status or the size of their bank accounts. The other justice system is for everybody else.”

And then ask: Is there a difference between China and America when it comes to justice for the rich and famous?

You be the judge: In January 2011, Li Qiming was arrested for the hit and run and sentenced to six years in jail and ordered to pay the equivalent of $69,900 in compensation to the family of Chen Xiaofeng. Li was also ordered to pay $13,800 to the injured woman.

In addition, to crack down on corruption, in 2004, the CCP enacted strict regulations on party officials assuming positions in business. In 2009, for instance, 106,000 CCP officials were found guilty of corruption, an increase of 2.5% from the previous year.

How about the United States? During the entire eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, for instance, one member of his White House staff was convicted of obstruction of justice and sent to prison, but Bush commuted the sentence. In Congress, during that time, three Democrats and five Republicans were convicted of crimes of corruption. Meanwhile, the average wealth of members of the U.S. Senate went from $1.5 million in 2004 to $2.6 million by 2010 with a slight setback during the 2007-08 global financial crises that was caused by corruption on Wall Street and from U.S Banks thanks to legislation overwhelmingly passed by Congress during the Clinton presidency. And former Vice President (2001 – 2009) Dick Cheney’s Halliburton made $38.5 Billion off the Iraq War. When Cheney became vice president under Bush, he was given a $34 million dollar bonus from Halliburton.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Discover the History of Guanxi

March 11, 2014

I first heard of Guanxi from the China Law Blog, which referred to the Silicon Hutong Blog.

After reading the China Law Blog’s post, I did more research and also watched a few videos on the subject.

I learned that Guanxi is an aspect of Chinese culture that does not translate easily.

There are several elements and layers to Guanxi. First, Guanxi is based on a Confucian hierarchy of familial relationships, long-term friendships, classmates, and schoolmates and to those no stranger—Chinese or foreign—will ever have access to. (Silicon Hutong)

Guanxi evolved over the millennia because China didn’t have a stable and effective legal system. In fact, the legal system in China today is relatively new and made its appearance after the 1982 Chinese Constitution was established.

Since 1982, there have been several amendments to the Constitution as China adapts its evolving legal system.

In time, this legal system may replace Guanxi since business law modeled on Western law with Chinese characteristic is developing faster than civil law.

Through the centuries, merchants in China needed a way to avoid disputes and problems in the absence of a well-developed legal system. To survive, this complex system called Guanxi developed with many components such as partnerships, trust, credibility, etc.

Guanxi developed organically in civil society due to the absence of a uniform, government mandated legal system, and maintaining Guanxi is different than how relationships are maintained in other cultures. The embedded video with this post offers a more detailed explanation.

The China Law Blog’s had more than twenty comments, and it was a lively discussion worth reading if you are interested in discovering more on this topic.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Falun Gong’s Media Machine

July 18, 2013

A few years ago when I attended the 6th Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, I stopped at a booth for Shen Yun Performing Arts staffed with attractive, college age girls. My wife loves dance, and I thought she might be interested. I asked if this dance troop was part of a local college or university. The girl who handed me the brochure said yes.

She lied to me.

That evening, when I arrived home, I handed the brochure to my wife, who said, “That is Falun Gong.” I’ve written about The Falun Gong and Costco, about A Visit from the Falun Gong, and the more I learn about this group, the more sinister they become.

Turning to the Internet and using Google, I learned that New Tang Dynasty Television, Shen Yun Performing Arts and The Epoch Times all appear to be part of Falun Gong. I also discovered that Falun Gong must buy lots of Internet AD words so Google searches lead to one of the gears in the Falun Gong machine.  In fact, I had trouble finding anything but Falun Gong propaganda and had to keep altering my search terms to get beyond the Falun Gong firewall.

In time, I discovered a piece published in the Buffalo News saying, “the promoters and creators of “Shen Yun,” who have picked up a reputation for misrepresentation and deception over the years, have adopted the questionable propagandist tactics of the very government they criticize in their productions.”

Digging further, the New York Times reported, “China’s decision to ban Falun Gong was made after 10,000 adherents staged a silent protest outside the gates of Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s leadership compound in Beijing, to complain about reports in the state-run media that the group said were defamatory. Security forces apparently had no advance knowledge of the demonstration, which took place on April 25, 1999. The Chinese government began treating the group as a threat to national security.”

How about visiting Belching About China

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Mao’s 24-hour war to cleanse China of illegal drugs

July 16, 2013

From The Opium Monopoly by Ellen N. La Motte, we learn how opium addiction became an epidemic in China. Although The Chinese knew about opium for more than a thousand years, it wasn’t until the Portuguese arrived in the 18th century that  the Chinese used it as a drug by smoking it. Merchants from Britain, France, Portugal, America and other nations became the drug cartels that plagued China into the 20th century.

In 1729, the emperor issued the first anti-opium edict, but the supply of opium flooding China went from 220 chests in 1729 to 70,000 in 1858.

It is estimated that before 1950, as many as 20 million Chinese were drug addicts. To solve this problem, Mao had the People’s Liberation Army execute the drug dealers and forced millions of addicts into compulsory treatment—all in twenty-four hours.


Opium growers, who did not want to comply, fled into the Golden Triangle Region of Southeast Asia where many of Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist troops had gone to escape defeat. Those generals also did business with the CIA, and American soldiers in Vietnam became the new customers. It is estimated that at least 20% of the almost nine million American troops that served in Vietnam became addicted.

China remained free of drugs until Deng Xiaoping declared, “Getting Rich is Glorious” and opened China to world trade. In 2003, it was estimated that China had four million regular drug users—even with China’s strict laws concerning illegal drug use.

And in America, where human rights are king, drug users and sellers often end up in prison costing taxpayers an average of $47,000 annually for each of the more than 2-million convicted criminals that are locked up explaining why America has more people serving time in prisons than any other country on the planet—that price tag is more than $90-billion a year.

Sources: Opium and Illegal Drugs in China and How Maoist Revolution Wiped Out Drugs in China

To discover more of Mao’s China, see China’s Great Leap Forward

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 2/2

April 30, 2013

During the 1990s, Zhou Litai became famous as one of the first lawyers fighting for the rights of workers injured or mistreated by China’s new wave of private enterprises.… Since then, he has handled thousands of workplace injury cases, and even houses and feeds some of his most destitute clients. Source: New York Times

Zhou Litai has been featured in China Daily and on CCTV in China.

In the 2006 documentary, Zhou Litai says, “In Shenzhen every year, 10,000 insured workers get injured.  It’s reported that 95% of injured workers do not file lawsuits.”

“After winning cases,” Zhou Litai says, “some clients went back home to buy a house or to open a home business. Also, a few have started self-education in law such as Fu Shulin, who comes from Anhui Province.”

“Before he came to Shenzhen,” Zhou Litai says, “Fu Shulin was a student at a vocational college in Hefei City and he’s been living with me after filing a lawsuit. During the legal process, he realized the power of the law and decided to study after me.”



In May 2006, a short documentary of China’s changing legal system was produced.

Before becoming a law clerk, Fu Shulin had a hand cut off while operating a machine. He was sent to a hospital.

Shulin says, “At first, the doctor told me that my hand was able to be reconnected. However, after my boss talked to the doctor, he told me that my hand wouldn’t be reconnected because the bones had been shattered.”

Shulin had problems with his factory boss so he saw Lawyer Zhou Litai.

After seeing Zhou Litai, Shulin was offered 30,000 yuan by the factory (less than $4,000 US). He turned it down.

Then the boss had him locked up in a factory room, but Shulin managed to get a note to his lawyer, Zhou Litai, who came with the police to free him.

in 1998, the district court ruled in Shulin’s favor and awarded him 160,000 yuan (more than $19,000 US dollars). The factory boss appealed and lost. The final settlement was 168,000 yuan (more than $20,000 US)

Return to China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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