(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 29, 2007, the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) adopted China's first anti-drug law, 71 articles long; it abrogates a December 28, 1990, NPCSC 16-article decision on the subject. The new law will be in force as of June 1, 2008. Narcotics are defined under the law as opium, marijuana, methamphetamine hydrochloride ("ice"), morphine, cocaine, and other narcotic and psychotropic drugs, stipulated by the state to be controlled, that can cause addiction. The law stipulates a licensing and inspection system for research, production, management, use, storage, and transport of such substances.
The new law gives public security organs (police) the power to search people and luggage for illegal drugs in public places, including train and bus stations and border crossings. It also provides that "owners and managers of discos, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues must report drug takers to the police or face punishment." (Anti-Drug Law Cracks Down on Drug-Related Crime, SHANGHAIDAILY.COM, Dec. 31, 2007, available at http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2007/200712/20071231/article_343459.htm.)
Persons found to be taking drugs will be subject to public security management punishment unless they voluntarily register with the police or accept rehabilitative treatment. Addicts are to be rehabilitated, and the police are to register addicts. Drug addicts are permitted, under the new legislation, to undergo treatment in their communities for up to three years, instead of being subject to detention and a fine and, if they suffer a relapse, to reeducation through labor as stipulated under the 1990 decision. Compulsory rehabilitation does not apply to addicts under the age of 16; earlier drafts of the law had reportedly set the age limit for compulsory rehabilitation at age 14. Relevant Chinese agencies, the law stipulates, should strengthen anti-narcotics information-sharing with other countries or local law enforcement organs, as well as international organizations, and enhance cooperation in the work of anti-narcotics enforcement. (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo jin du fa, National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China Web site, Dec. 29, 2007; Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui Changwu Weiyuanhui guanyu jin du de jueding, LAW-LIB.COM (last visited Dec. 31, 2007); China Adopts First Anti-Drug Law Amid Rising Drug-Related Crimes, XINHUA, Dec. 29, 2007, available at http://en.chinaelections.org/NewsInfo.asp?NewsID=14322; China's First Anti-Drug Law Likely to Be Adopted this Year, PEOPLE'S DAILY ONLINE, Dec. 24, 2007, available at http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90785/6325688.html.)