Beijing condemns Washington’s “illegal” accusations against four Chinese companies.

“This action is completely illegal and severely violates the fundamental rights of Chinese citizens and enterprises. China strongly condemns it,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Beijing on Saturday “strongly” condemned the “illegal” decision by US authorities to charge four Chinese companies and eight of their employees with bringing ingredients needed to make the drug fentanyl into the US.

Two of the eight employees were arrested in Hawaii and taken into custody as part of an unprecedented criminal operation, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced on Friday.

“This is a typical example of arbitrary detention and unilateral sanctions,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded in a statement this Saturday.

“This action is completely illegal and severely violates the fundamental rights of Chinese citizens and enterprises. China strongly condemns it,” the ministry continued.

According to the DoJ, one of the targeted Chinese companies, Amervel Biotech, is accused of introducing 200 kilograms of chemical precursors into the US alone, “with the intention of producing more than 50 kilograms of fentanyl, enough to kill 25 million Americans”.

The other three companies targeted by US authorities are Anhui Recheng Technology, Anhui Moker New Material Technology and Hefei GSK Trade.

The Chinese ministry said the accusations were “a deep compromise on the establishment of anti-drug cooperation between China and the United States”.

The United States has recently stepped up efforts to curb the spread of synthetic drugs that have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths on its territory over the past decade.

In particular, Washington is targeting China-based companies suspected of sending fentanyl components to Mexico, a major source of synthetic drugs sold in the United States.

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who visited Beijing this week, discussed the issue with Chinese leaders.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, is now the leading killer of US citizens aged 18 to 49.

China banned fentanyl exports to the US in 2019, a decision welcomed by then-US President Donald Trump’s administration.

But, according to experts, the country continued to supply chemical precursors to fentanyl, mainly to Mexico and Central America, where cartels manufacture the drug before exporting it to the United States.

Beijing has in the past denied any responsibility for the fentanyl overdose crisis, placing the blame on American society and its pharmaceutical companies.

In the United States, opioid overdose-related deaths have increased in recent years, from 69,000 in 2020 to 81,000 in 2021 and 110,000 in 2022.

Recently, Washington has already sanctioned several Chinese companies accused of being involved in drug trafficking.

The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has denied that his country has a fentanyl problem and accused the United States of not doing enough to curb consumption within its own borders.

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