Asia: China Celebrates International Anti-Drugs Day with Executions, Bonfires 7/1/05

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drug burning in China marking the
UN's International Anti-Drugs Day
In what has become a macabre annual ritual, China marked the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Sunday by ordering the execution of at least 24 people for drug crimes in one city alone, with five of them meeting their fates immediately, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, according to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, more than 10,000 people marched from Beijing's Summer Palace, a symbol of China's defeat in the 19th Century's Opium Wars, to raise awareness of the drug threat.

The UN's 18th annual anti-drug day was, however, marked primarily by bonfires of confiscated drugs. In Afghanistan, authorities in Kabul set up a massive blaze with 13 tons of confiscated opium, nine tons of hashish, two tons of heroin, and six tons of "other narcotics," Reuters reported. The air was also filled with fragrant smoke in neighboring Pakistan, where authorities in Karachi torched another 20 tons of drugs seized in its territorial waters.

public anti-drug execution for the
UN's International Anti-Drugs Day

In a statement commemorating anti-drug day, UN Secretary General warned that drug use was "little more than a ticket to a dead end."

In Vietnam, things were a bit more laid back. In a nation with 170,000 drug addicts and 94,000 HIV-infected people, 70% of them linked to injecting drugs, authorities took a more positive tack. Instead of announcing arrests or burning contraband, they held a meeting entitled "Let's Live a Healthy Life," the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Across Asia, the international day against drugs spawned newspaper articles and editorials exhorting drug users to change their ways, but the task is huge. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in a report released this week, the number of drug users worldwide stands at 200 million, or 5% of the adult population. No need to worry about canceling next year's events for lack of interest yet.

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Issue #393 -- 7/1/05

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Editorial: Star Wars and the Drug War | Feature: Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill Wednesday -- Senate Overrides Thursday | Feature: Coca on the March in Peru | Feature: Most Marijuana Users in Drug Treatment Sent There By Criminal Justice System | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Global: World Drug Trade Worth $320 Billion Annually, UN Says | AIDS/HIV: Harm Reduction Wins Battle in UN AIDS Session | Asia: China Celebrates International Anti-Drugs Day with Executions, Bonfires | Hemp: Rep. Ron Paul Introduces Federal Bill for Industrial Hemp | Medical Marijuana: US Patient Seeks Access to British Marijuana Extract Spray Through Investigational New Drug Program | Africa: Cannabis Cultivation Feeds a Hundred Thousand Families in Morocco | Europe: British Marijuana Smokers Grow Their Own | Web Scan: Cato on Pain, MPP PSAs | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunity: Harm Reduction Coalition, NYC | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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