In the mid-19th century, the United Kingdom and other Western powers wreaked havoc across China by flooding its major cities with highly addictive opium. By 1840 some 10 million Chinese were addicted to the drug being supplied by illegal British imports, the United Kingdom’s National Army Museum estimates.
The opium crisis culminated in the Opium Wars, both of which China lost. The following period, which the Chinese have long referred to as a “century of humiliation,” saw Western nations gain and hold onto a slew of territories and legal and commercial privileges in China. Hong Kong, for example, became a British colony in 1842 and wasn’t handed back to China until 1997.
Returning the Favor
Today, the Chinese Communist Party seems to be returning the favor by actively producing the materials used to make fentanyl, an even more debilitating drug than opium, and then trafficking them into the United States. (READ MORE: The Arms Controllers Are Back)
More than 77,000 Americans died from fentanyl between May 2022 and April 2023 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl overdose, the CDC added, has become the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45, killing more in this age group than gun violence, COVID-19, car accidents, or cancer.
Before 2019, China directly trafficked fentanyl and production equipment to the U.S. through “international mail and express consignment operations,” according to the Congressional Research Service, a public policy research institute of Congress.
However, under immense pressure from the Trump administration, the CCP agreed in May 2019 to implement class-wide controls over fentanyl and its related substances, effectively ending the direct trafficking.
“The direct shipment of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances from China to the United States went down to almost zero,” a senior advisor to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy said in July 2022. (READ MORE: San Francisco Builds a Wall for China)
Since then, the CCP has started to work with Mexican cartels by sending them “precursor chemicals,” which are materials necessary for making fentanyl. The cartels then manufacture fentanyl and smuggle it into the U.S. Nearly all the precursor chemicals on the market are currently coming from China.
China Could Stop But Won’t
Ray Donovan, former chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, told Fox News, “China is the lead nation for the production of precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl and the Chinese chemical industry is the most unregulated industry in all of China.”
“I think if China wants to do more to regulate it, they certainly can,” Donovan added. “If there was willingness to stop it, they could get ahead of the problem.”
Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has expressed doubt over China’s willingness to change the status quo without significant pressure from U.S. officials, calling the fentanyl crisis in America “a win/win in the Chinese Communist Party’s eyes.”
The CCP, according to Hanson, “finds fentanyl a profitable export to Mexico with the added benefit [that] it kills 100,000 Americans yearly.”
Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to a report by the Department of Justice. A dose of just two milligrams is enough to kill a grown adult.
One can only hope that our senile president will be able to get the message across to Chinese President Xi Jinping in their meeting on Wednesday.
Fentanyl Is Spreading Like Wildfire
Author: Matthew Xiao