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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
China extends drugs fight
large quantity of illicit drugs, mainly amphetamines and heroin, laid out to be destroyed, June 2004
Amphetamines are on the increase in China
China has launched a nationwide anti-drugs campaign in entertainment venues, according to state media.

The Ministry of Public Security, Yang Fengrui, said the campaign would focus on dance clubs and karaoke bars where illegal substances were often sold.

He said drugs like ecstasy and ice (methamphetamine) were a major problem.

Drug-taking is no longer confined to big cities, but has spread to smaller urban areas and the countryside, according to the China Daily newspaper.

During a conference in Guangzhou, Yang Fengrui said the crackdown would run until December, and focus on both drug dealing and drug abuse.

He said the campaign would target locations such as karaoke bars, dance clubs and other venues where drug use had increased in recent years.

"New types of illegal drugs have been especially seen in entertainment places," Yang Fengrui was quoted as saying by the China Daily.

He said that these new substances added to the challenges already posed by more traditional drugs like heroin, opium and marijuana.

The new initiative is part of a wider campaign against drugs, which has seen more than 5,000 dealers arrested and 5,000 kg (1,100 pounds) of drugs confiscated since the beginning of July.

So far more than 250 drug trafficking rings have been broken, and 300 entertainment venues cleaned up, the China Daily reports.

Statistics quoted by the paper suggest that China has more than a million registered drug users, although the actual figure could be much higher.

China responds with strict punishments - administering death sentences for dealers and forcing addicts to undergo rehabilitation.

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