BEIJING — The recent charges filed by U.S. authorities against four Chinese companies and eight individuals for trafficking chemicals used in fentanyl production have drawn criticism from Beijing. The Chinese government has labeled the arrests as “arbitrary detention” and voiced concerns over violating human rights.
As Emily’s Hope reported a few days ago, two of the Chinese defendants, identified as the principal executive and marketing manager of one of the companies, Hubei Amarvel Biotech, were recently arrested overseas and brought to Hawaii for their court appearance.
The Chinese foreign ministry released a statement, denouncing the charges.
“US law enforcement personnel ensnared Chinese nationals through ‘sting operation’ in a third country and blatantly pressed charges against Chinese entities and individuals. This is typical arbitrary detention and unilateral sanction, which is completely illegal. It seriously harms the basic human rights of the Chinese nationals and the interests of the Chinese companies concerned,” the statement read.
US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said that the Chinese firms involved in the case openly advertised the sale of precursor chemicals used in fentanyl production through social media platforms and even provided proof of delivery on their websites. To avoid detection by law enforcement, these chemicals were shipped in deceptive packaging.
The U.S. Justice Department’s intensified crackdown on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid responsible for thousands of overdose deaths in America, marks a notable shift in strategy. Washington is now targeting Chinese firms for trafficking fentanyl precursor chemicals to the United States, not just Mexico for moving fentanyl across the border.
The four companies facing charges are Hubei Amarvel Biotech, Anhui Rencheng Technology, Anhui Moker New Material Technology, and Hefei GSK Trade. Three separate cases have been filed against them in federal court in New York. The indicted individuals include executives and employees of these companies.
The issue of fentanyl has further complicated the already tense relationship between Washington and Beijing. Secretary of State Blinken raised the matter during his recent visit to China, emphasizing its importance. The Chinese foreign ministry argued that the charges undermine the foundation of China-U.S. anti-drug cooperation.
“We urge the US to stop shifting the blame, stop smearing and attacking China, immediately lift all sanctions on Chinese counter-narcotics law enforcement institutions, stop using fentanyl-related issues as a pretext to sanction, indict or offer awards to hunt Chinese companies or nationals, stop the arbitrary detentions, and immediately release the Chinese nationals under illegal arrest. China will continue to do what is necessary to firmly defend the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and nationals,” the statement read.
Fentanyl, known for its potency that is 50 times stronger than heroin and its ease of production, has become a significant concern as the United States battles its deadliest drug epidemic in history. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 110,000 Americans died last year because of drugs, many of which are because of people unknowingly ingesting fentanyl.
”Guess what? A Xanax never killed anyone, and a Percocet never killed anyone. They do now because they’re fake, and a lot of these young kids just don’t know.,” Lost Voice of Fentanyl Founder, April Babcock, said.
Babcock spoke with Emily’s Hope founder, Angela Kennecke for an upcoming Grieving Out Loud podcast. Her son died from fentanyl poisoning, and she’s organizing a March on the Capitol in Washington D.C. in September to demand attention from lawmakers who she has have taken too little action in fighting the fentanyl crisis.
Stay tuned to Emily’s Hope as we continue to follow this developing story.