Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) on Wednesday released the results of a nearly yearlong bipartisan investigation showing the ease of which drug traffickers in China can ship powerful synthetic opioids into the United States.
The 100-page report found that when it comes to fentanyl — which can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin — those selling online in China prefer to ship the drug into the country through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) rather than private mail shippers, reportedly because the sellers think there’s less of a risk that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will seize the package.
Lawmakers and the White House are grappling with how to curb an opioid epidemic that’s led to skyrocketing death rates. The number of deaths from drugs like fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This bipartisan investigation has uncovered how incredibly easy it is to buy these deadly drugs online and have them shipped here through the mail,” Carper said in a statement.
“We have also learned how ill-equipped federal agencies were to prevent drug smugglers from taking advantage of a massive surge in recent years of e-commerce and international mail to ship synthetic opioid, like fentanyl, into our communities.”
The report’s release comes ahead of a hearing on the issue Thursday, where officials from various agencies will be called to testify before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on investigations led by Portman and Carper.
In performing the investigation, subcommittee staff told reporters that they googled “fentanyl for sale.” Though they didn’t ultimately buy the drug, they said they communicated with six sellers over the course of three months.
The latest hurdle comes in the form of restrictive environmental protection regulations that have suffocated businesses, forcing them to close down.
Since China enacted laws to open up trade and business with Taiwan in the 1990s, many companies from the island across the strait have capitalized on the opportunity of China’s sizeable market.
However, for some, the investments haven’t paid off.
Late last year, a leaked online document revealed that Kunshan City in Jiangsu Province—a hub for Taiwan businesses—had requested 270 factories to stop production from Dec. 25 to Jan. 10 because the local freshwater quality was not up to standard. About a half of the affected companies were Taiwanese, according to the BBC.
Chinese Communist Party cadres are capable of embezzling huge sums of money—but how do they store it?
As the funds are illicit, officials know better than to save the money in banks, so they’ve become very creative in how they hide their stash.
The topic surfaced when a piece of news recently went viral in China. In Harbin City, in the northernmost Heilongjiang Province, a local resident who was renovating his house discovered loads of cash hidden in the walls. The previous homeowner had stowed away 140 million yuan (about $21.7 million), leading many netizens to assume he was a corrupt official.
Local authorities quelled the internet rumors by claiming that the money was connected to a scam case that local police were investigating.
But netizens may not be far off the mark, as officials have been caught secretly hoarding their spoils.
Last September, the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, partnered with state broadcaster CCTV to air a special segment on corruption. It revealed how a Party cadre and former chairman of Chinese carmaker FAW Group, Xu Jianyi, hid his valuables in order to escape authorities. He placed his watches and gold bars inside tea canisters and tried to hide in a tree in his villa when he learned that the agency was coming for him.
CANADIAN Indians are outraged over the sale of globes manufactured in China which exempt the troubled region of Kashmir from India.
There have been a number of shoppers who bought the globes since late 2017 – sold at major consumer outlets Costco and Homesense – who were angry to find the state of Jammu and Kashmir not included as Indian territory, reported the Hindustan Times.
The only Muslim-majority state in India, Jammu and Kashmir is part of a decades-long territorial conflict between Pakistan and India. China meanwhile claims the Shaksam Valley and Aksai Chin regions of the state.
“A country can now freely engage in a veiled war through business and trade practices by influencing young minds with long-term consequences,” National Alliance of Indo-Canadians president Azad Kaushik said, alluding to China, as quoted by the Times.
“The manipulation of a map on an educational globe is but an example of a new kind of war through business in a globalised world.”
BEIJING — A decision by China’s central bank to rein in reserve funds held by payment firms could cost the industry upwards of $689 million a year, spur consolidation and alter the way Asia’s biggest tech firms move money.
Mobile payments using in-app QR or bar codes have become ubiquitous for everything from taxis to grocery shopping and bike rental in China in recent years, with customers making 19 trillion yuan ($2.9 trillion) in transactions in 2016, according to iResearch.
The rapid uptake has spurred fears that mobile payment firms, without oversight, could misuse funds held while transactions between users and merchants clear.
Regulations unveiled by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Saturday require firms to allocate 42 to 50 percent of their total client funds in regulated interest-free reserve accounts by April, up from a current rate of 12 to 20 percent.