Archives de la catégorie ‘Hong Kong’

The Chinese regime has become the leading source of synthetic drugs and precursors

Behind the illicit flow of drugs into the United States and the violence waged in Latin America by criminal cartels, the Chinese regime is hard at work. For drug cartels and narcoterrorist groups, the Chinese regime has become the leading source of synthetic drugs and precursors for drugs like methamphetamine, and a leading source for the weapons used by those in the drug business.

Many of these drugs are wreaking havoc on the bodies and minds of users and their communities—with some causing long-term psychotic behavior, and others linked to overdose and death.

For example there are more than 150 publicly listed Chinese chemical companies selling the drug alpha-PVP, also known as “flakka,” according to New York Times. Flakka is replacing cocaine use in Florida, and has been the cause of at least 18 deaths and numerous bizarre arrests in the state.

As for methamphetamine, a 2012 national survey found there are an estimated 1.2 million users in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Side effects of the drug include “significant anxiety” and violent behavior, and “psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years.”

These drugs, and many others like them, have a critical feature in common: they, or the otherwise controlled chemicals used to make them, originate in China—and for years Chinese regulators have shown little interest in helping stem the flow.

“The Chinese role is that of a facilitator to Mexican and Latin American organized crime activities,” said Dr. Robert J. Bunker, adjunct research professor at the U.S. Army War College, in an email interview.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has found its way into both legitimate and underworld markets in Latin America, according to Bunker. “Combine these with their linkages to pariah regimes in the region, such as Venezuela, and their interactions with Hezbollah and Iranian operatives,” Bunker said, “and we end up with a ‘Star War’s Bar’ type of scenario.”

In the famous bar scene from the 1977 film, the character Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

It’s a situation, Bunker said, where the Chinese regime “via its sizeable number of corrupt officials—many with organized crime linkages—will basically sell anything, or provide any kind of service at this point to make a profit: weapons, precursor drugs, cloned goods, gambling, and money laundering.”
A ‘Drug Warfare’ Drug War

There is more to the drug war than meets the eye. “Recent Chinese doctrine articulates the use of a wide spectrum of warfare against its adversaries, including the United States,” according to an Oct. 13, 2014, report from U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

“Drug warfare” is one piece of this “wide spectrum of warfare,” the report states, noting that it ties to a broader Chinese military strategy meant to “destabilize an adversary.” It falls under the umbrella of “culture warfare,” which is an unconventional warfare strategy meant to decay the moral fabric of a rival nation, and thereby weaken it.

For communist regimes including the CCP, the use of drug warfare against their adversaries isn’t anything new. In his book, “Red Cocaine,” last updated in 1999, former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence Joseph D. Douglass detailed the history of the strategy.

He writes communist regimes “have been using narcotics for several decades as a decisive weapon in the ongoing low-level warfare they are waging against Western civilization,” and adds, “During the five years to 1990, for instance, data and other source testimony were forthcoming linking almost every Communist country to drug trafficking.”

The strategy was exposed many times over by high-level officials defecting from the Soviet Union—including Czech defector Gen. Jan Sejna. Its use was also detailed in the Stalin-era “The Communist Manual of Instructions on Psychopolitical Warfare,” which can now be found in the public domain.

Drug warfare was used by the British during the Opium Wars against China in the 19th century, which led to China ceding control of Hong Kong to British rule in 1841, and later helped lead to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912.

For the CCP’s founder, Mao Tse-tung, opium was a weapon to be used in his efforts to gain control over China. Douglass writes that in 1928 Mao instructed one of his subordinates, Tan Chen-lin, to “begin cultivating opium on a grand scale.” This was a push both to gain needed supplies and to drug noncommunist states.

After the CCP established its control, Douglass wrote, “opium production was nationalized and trafficking of narcotics, targeted against non-Communist states, became a formal activity of the new Communist state.”

That “formal activity” never ended—despite being exposed by separate investigations in Japan and the United States in 1951.

But today, the drug warfare that in the past was done in a cloak and dagger fashion is now done openly.
Feeding the Epidemic

For drug cartels, China is the main source of precursor chemicals, including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine used to make the drug methamphetamine. It is also the main source of other synthetic drugs, many of which can be ordered online directly from Chinese laboratories. Most synthetic drugs are difficult to categorize—and to regulate—because Chinese labs change their chemical makeup to dodge U.S. laws.

The use and addiction to methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs is growing in the United States—since they’re often inexpensive, easy to get, and can mimic the effects of other drugs on the market. There are synthetic clones of just about every illegal drug on the market.

While the CCP has arrested some groups selling the drugs on their own soil, according to PBS, the drugs for exports are still “being manufactured in the open.”

A drug addict prepares a needle to inject himself with heroin in front of a church in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles on April 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A drug addict prepares a needle to inject himself with heroin in front of a church in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles on April 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The CCP’s policy on these chemicals has allowed illegal drugs to thrive abroad. Mexican cartels produce more than 90 percent of the methamphetamine used in the United States, and 80 percent of that same methamphetamine is produced using ingredients from China, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“China has become the top supplier to Mexican traffickers due to loose regulations on its chemical manufacturing and export industry,” a Drug Enforcement Administration official told Stars and Stripes.

The traffickers produce methamphetamine using up to 30 chemical ingredients—many of which are produced under tight regulations in the United States and elsewhere—but in China, only one of those 30 chemicals is regulated, according to Stars and Stripes.

Mexico has tried cooperating with the Chinese regime to stem the flow of drug ingredients, but were told Mexico would have to deal with it themselves. Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to China, told The New York Times “In all my time there, the Chinese never showed any willingness to cooperate on stemming the flow of precursors into Mexico.”

Brazilian political commentator and author of “The Latin America Axis of Evil and the New World Order” (O Eixo do Mal Latino-Americano e a Nova Ordem Mundial), Dr. Heitor De Paola, said in an email interview that the drugs are used for the purpose of drug warfare in Latin America, not just by the CCP, but by other communist groups as well.

On the government side, he said the practice is used by some national leaders who are part of the far-left Foro de São Paulo political conferences, as well as by narcoterror groups like FARC, and far-left “social movements” that double as guerrilla organizations.

The drugs are used, he said, “as a way of stimulating the drug addiction inside the target countries’ youth,” in order to accomplish political goals of the communist groups. Some of the groups, such as FARC, will also exchange the drugs for weapons.
The Origin of Illicit Firearms

The CCP’s support of Latin American drug traffickers, however, doesn’t end with just supplying the synthetic drugs and ingredients.

The main source of illegal firearms in Mexico is also China, “through the black market,” according to a report from Dr. R. Evan Ellis, an associate professor of national security studies in the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.

A problem with sourcing, Ellis stated, is that Chinese weapons are often smuggled into Mexico through the United States. His claim was backed by Luis Villegas Meléndez, a military commander in Mexico, who stated in 2008 that Chinese and Russian firearms were being smuggled across the U.S. border into Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Mexican marines escort five alleged drug traffickers of the Zetas drug cartel in front seized grenades, firearms, cocaine and military uniforms in Mexico City on June 9, 2011. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexican marines escort five alleged drug traffickers of the Zetas drug cartel in front seized grenades, firearms, cocaine and military uniforms in Mexico City on June 9, 2011. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

“Chinese-manufactured grenades and other military items have been seized in Puebla and elsewhere in Mexico,” Ellis stated, yet added that it’s still unclear whether the drug cartels are buying the weapons from Chinese criminal groups, or directly from Chinese companies.

The Mexican drug cartels aren’t the only illicit recipients of the weapons either, according to a Nov. 5 report from the US-China Economic Security Review Commission.

The CCP supplies weapons directly and indirectly to groups that are “otherwise largely isolated for political reasons,” it states. Recipients of Chinese weapons range from the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, to FARC rebels in Colombia.

The proliferation of Chinese weapons in the region is a bit of a conundrum. The report states, “At the region-wide level, the degree to which Chinese state-owned arms suppliers such as Norinco take steps to ensure their weapons are not diverted to the black market is not clear.”

The CCP has fired back at accusations, claiming the sale of weapons to narcoterrorist organizations is “illegal under Chinese law,” but as the report notes, this claim is little more than hot air.

“Through means described by China’s government as legitimate,” the report states, Chinese-made arms have been found on their way to rebel groups in Colombia and South Sudan as recently as March.

Roger J. Chin, a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University said criminal organizations are exploiting the nature of globalization, and that it is no longer just a local problem, but instead something global “with direct national security implications.”

Robert Bunker said the problems demonstrate the thinking behind Chinese business in the region. “If narcoterror in Latin America should be promoted as an outcome of such Chinese policies,” he said, “their response is ‘So be it.’”

NARCOTICS: la Chine est devenue le premier fournisseur des trafiquants mexicains


HSBC, née de deux guerres et du trafic de drogue

Au temps des colonies

Pour être sobre, c’est sobre. C’est même le moins qu’on puisse dire devant la présentation lapidaire de l’histoire d’HSBC sur son site institutionnel : « HSBC est ainsi baptisée en référence à sa structure fondatrice, la Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, établie en 1865 pour financer le commerce florissant entre l’Europe, l’Inde et la Chine ».

Oh, c’est exact. Mais un rien court. Le commerce international est effectivement en pleine bourre à l’époque, facilité par les progrès des transports maritimes et ferroviaires. Un exemple ? Dans toutes les zones contrôlées par l’Empire britannique, première puissance coloniale du monde, partent et arrivent des marchandises qui font fureur un peu partout : textiles, bois rares, épices, sucre, indigo… L’esprit d’entreprise fait merveille ; des fortunes se construisent à vitesse grand V dans ce contexte de boom économique mondialisé – déjà – dont les romans de Jules Verne (« Le tour du monde en 80 jours », en particulier) donnent une petite idée.

Comme il faut bien acheminer ces richesses vers leurs heureux destinataires, plusieurs compagnies de transport maritime luttent alors pour se tailler une place au soleil. Parmi elle, la P&O [1], née en 1837 et initialement spécialisée dans le transport de courrier et les toutes premières croisières de luxe du monde, en Méditerranée. En 1865, la compagnie a suffisamment grandi pour étendre ses activités aux Indes britanniques. Ses navires à vapeur multiplient leurs activités dans tout le nord de l’Océan Indien, entre l’Inde et la Chine en particulier. Au sein du conseil d’administration de P&O, un certain Thomas Sutherland, un Écossais, voit plus grand : il décide d’adosser la compagnie sur un établissement bancaire directement installé à Hongkong : HSBC. Parmi les principaux investisseurs, un certain Thomas Dent. Homme d’affaires multicartes, armateur, banquier.

Oh, et baron de la drogue.

De l’opium pour un Empire

Car c’est un peu ce qu’HSBC oublie avec de préciser – avec infiniment de pudeur – en évoquant ce « commerce florissant » dont elle finance la croissance. Une bonne part des marchandises transportées par la compagnie qu’elle finance sont une drogue dure – l’opium.

Et pas qu’un peu : dans les années 1870, on estime que les cargaisons d’opium représentent 70 % du volume de marchandises qui transitent par Hongkong, territoire britannique où P&O a implanté des docks truffés de drogue jusqu’aux toits.  Et lance des navires armés avec le joyeux soutien de la banque HSBC, précisément créée à cet effet.

Revenons à Thomas Dent. Le cher homme a de l’ancienneté dans le trafic de drogue : il s’échine depuis un bon quart de siècle déjà à écouler l’opium indien en Europe, où elle fait des ravages, mais surtout sur l’un des plus vastes marchés du monde, plus proche encore : la Chine, où on estime que 7 millions d’opiomanes donneraient à peu près n’importe quoi pour s’abrutir dans l’une des fumeries de Shanghai ou d’ailleurs.


Un activisme qui rendait fou de rage le pouvoir impérial. En 1839, la Chine avait même lancé un mandat d’arrêt contre celui qu’elle considérait ni plus ni moins comme un chef de cartel d’une envergure à faire rougir Pablo Escobar. Le tout alors que l’Empire du Milieu essaie de se débarrasser de l’opium depuis déjà près d’un siècle à l’arrivée des Occidentaux en Asie. Cette drogue dure, qu’on fume pour s’abrutir et qu’on surnomme « tabac d’honneur » a d’abord été l’équivalent de notre cocaïne, une drogue réservée aux happy few capables de se payer leurs doses. La puissance de l’industrie anglaise, en faisant exploser la production de pavot change la donne, et fait passer l’opium du statut de produit élitiste à celui de drogue grand public.

En 1729, 200 caisses d’opium avaient été exportées en Chine. En 1838, 40 000…

Deux guerres en vingt ans

Catastrophique du point de vue de l’Empire chinois, bien décidé à tout faire pour empêcher les Anglais d’écouler l’opium indien sur son territoire. Le hic ? Des personnages comme Thomas Dent savent très défendre leurs intérêts auprès de la couronne britannique – en lui rappelant que les taxes sur ces transports ne peuvent que contribuer à la puissance de l’empire de sa Majesté et en faisant valoir cette fameuse » mission civilisatrice de l’Occident » chère aux colonialistes.

Le résultat ? Deux guerres de l’opium successives (1839-1842 et 1856-1860) entre l’Angleterre (puis d’autres puissances occidentales, France et États-Unis en tête) et la Chine. Et deux défaites de suite pour celle-ci, incapable de résister à la force de frappe des Occidentaux. Déjà contrainte quelques années plus tôt de leur abandonner une série de comptoirs comme Hongkong, elle est contrainte d’autoriser la vente d’opium sur son territoire. Bilan : une Chine humiliée et territorialement réduite, un pouvoir impérial en capilotade, Pékin pillée… Le tout au nom de la liberté du commerce et sans compter les quelques centaines de milliers de vies ruinées par une drogue dont les effets sont comparables à ceux de l’héroïne : sensation d’extase, relaxation intense, insensibilité totale à la douleur… Et dépendance massive.

Bref, un épisode moyennement glorieux de l’histoire coloniale. Mais fort profitable aux quelques hommes d’affaires qui ont la joie de se trouver au bon endroit au bon moment. Le conflit est achevé depuis cinq ans lorsque naît HSBC – pile le bon moment pour tirer les fruits d’un trafic juteux, qui garantit à la banque une croissance particulièrement rapide.

De l’histoire ancienne ? Bof.

Évidemment, on pourra toujours se dire qu’il s’agit d’une vieille histoire et qu’après des décennies d’existence, le lien entre la banque et le trafic de drogue sont depuis longtemps oublié. Bref, que la sixième banque du monde s’est achetée une conduite depuis lurette.

Sauf que non. Avant de faire dans le scandale pour des questions de fraude fiscale, HSBC s’est déjà ramassée une amende record, infligée par la justice américaine en 2012. 1,9 milliard de dollars[2] tout de même. Le motif ? Avoir joyeusement blanchi l’argent des cartels mexicains au travers de ses agences locales. Détail ahurissant : les caisses de cash livrées à la banque par les trafiquants étaient parfois si énormes que certaines agences durent adapter leurs locaux et … élargir leurs fenêtres pour parvenir à les faire passer…


[1] Pour « Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company »

[2] Soit l’équivalent de… cinq semaines de profits. Pas cher payé, compte tenu du fait qu’aucun responsable n’a fait l’objet de la moindre condamnation.



Solidarité Ouvrière

RFI, 2 décembre 2014 :

A Hong Kong, le siège de l’exécutif a dû fermer ses portes lundi 1er décembre au matin sous la pression des manifestants, après les pires heurts depuis trois mois entre les protestataires et la police. 40 personnes ont été arrêtées et lundi soir, trois des leaders étudiants ont commencé une grève de la faim.

Les deux étudiantes et le dorénavant célèbre Joshua Wong ont annoncé leur décision sur le podium d’Admiralty, le principal campement des opposants, puis sur Facebook. Leur objectif : forcer la main du gouvernement de Hong Kong pour obtenir des élections dans lesquelles Pékin n’aurait pas son mot à dire. Ils demandent aussi au gouvernement de rouvrir les négociations.

Voir l’article original 172 mots de plus

Solidarité Ouvrière

Le Figaro, 27 novembre 2014 :

Cela ressemble à un assaut final. Plusieurs milliers de policiers bataillent depuis mardi, pour évacuer les derniers sites occupés par les manifestants prodémocratie de Hong Kong depuis plus de huit semaines. Visiblement déterminées à mettre fin au mouvement, les forces de l’ordre ont arrêté quelques 148 manifestants, dont plusieurs leaders étudiants. Plus de 20 policiers ont été blessés dans les heurts autour des barricades.

Parmi les interpellés figurent les leaders étudiants Joshua Wong, qui avait déjà été arrêté fin septembre, et Lester Shum. Figure emblématique du mouvement, Joshua Wong, 18 ans, comparaîtra ce jeudi devant le tribunal de Kowloon pour «obstruction aux forces de l’ordre». Il a appelé ses troupes à continuer de défendre les barricades pendant son incarcération. Selon lui, l’abandon de l’occupation reviendrait à «abandonner non seulement le combat pour un vrai système électoral, mais aussi pour notre vie et notre avenir».

Voir l’article original 303 mots de plus

Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Remain Defiant of China After Weeks in the Streets

From the BBC

Police confront protesters in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, 17 October
The protest movement now focuses on the Mong Kok district

Thousands of protesters are still holding out on the streets of Hong Kong in defiance of tear gas and government warnings. The BBC explains who is behind the movement, and why.


Why are people in Hong Kong so angry?

Hong Kong has not seen a protest on this scale for years, with tens of thousands turning out at one point. The numbers have since fallen but some 9,000 “re-occupied” Mong Kok on 17 October.

Those out on the streets have been angered by the Chinese government’s ruling on who may stand as a candidate in elections for Hong Kong’s leader, due in 2017.

At the heart of this is a civil disobedience movement launched by democracy activists, Occupy Central. When China made its ruling, Occupy Central promised demonstrations.

Then students in Hong Kong began a separate class boycott in late September and when they broke into the main government compound on 26 September, Occupy kicked off its campaign early.

The police use of tear gas on supporters on 29 September further fuelled protesters’ anger. The initial sit-in at the Central district spawned more protests at Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, and a fourth site opened up at Canton Road days later.

Protesters have since called for the resignation of Chief Executive CY Leung for his handling of the situation, but the Chinese government has publicly pledged its support of his administration through the Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.


What lit the fuse?

It was always unclear exactly how much support Occupy Central could count on. They say that when the demonstrations began a spontaneous outpouring helped boost crowds.

Tens of thousands of ordinary Hong Kong residents took to the streets, mostly young, but pensioners and young families were also seen among those protesting.

Occupy Central say there is no single group in charge of the protests and that people refused to disperse even when they asked them to after the police let off tear gas canisters.


How violent could it get?

A pro-democracy demonstrator runs as police fired tear gas towards protesters near the Hong Kong government headquarters on 28 September 2014
These protests have seen tear gas deployed to disperse protesters

Hong Kong rallies are generally peaceful and well organised. But as Hong Kong’s politics has become more polarised so protests have become more confrontational.

Most witnesses report a peaceful and co-operative atmosphere, but police have used tear gas and batons on occasion.

Occupy Central insists it is a non-violent movement, but the rapid growth of the student-led campaign could also change the dynamic.


Might the protests change China’s mind?

Trams sit stranded as thousands of people block the streets in a huge protest march against a controversial anti-subversion law known as Article 23 in Hong Kong, 1 July 2003
A controversial national security law proposed by the government was dropped after large protests in 2003

Before these protests began, activists admitted the movement was unlikely to sway China.

Public protests play an important role in Hong Kong. Locals have free speech and the right to protest, even though they cannot directly elect their government.

And they have used this right to effect in the past. A controversial national security law known as Article 23 was proposed in 2002, but dropped after large protests the following year. More recently, the government was forced into a U-turn on “patriotic education” classes.

The size and passion of these protests have taken observers by surprise, but the demands strike at the very heart of the nature of Beijing’s authority.

Demanding full democracy would radically change how Hong Kong is governed and China is unlikely to cave in on this – it would be seen as a dangerous precedent.


Does everyone agree with the protesters?

General night-time view of the Hong Kong cityscape across Victoria Harbour from Kowloon Peninsula, 17/07/2011
Some are concerned that sit-ins could harm Hong Kong’s status as a financial centre

No. There is a large spectrum of opinion in Hong Kong which analysts say appears increasingly polarised.

The campaigners and protesters want political reform and democratic elections that meet international standards.

But Hong Kong is also a business-minded city, and many will be reluctant to take part in civil disobedience, or anger Beijing, fearing it could hurt the economy.

On 3 October, anti-Occupy protesters began heckling the pro-democracy demonstrators at the Mong Kok site, which later escalated into scuffles and violence.


Who are the key players?

Benny Tai with fellow democracy activists Benny Tai (centre) is one of the founders of Occupy Central

Occupy Central led the way in campaigning for more direct democracy.

Its leaders – law professor Benny Tai, sociologist Chan Kin-man and church minister Yiu-ming – are seen as moderate pro-democracy figures.

It is supported by many political parties in Hong Kong’s pan-democratic camp.

Student leaders like Alex Chow and Lester Shum have come to the fore. Joshua Wong, who was at the helm of the campaign against “patriotic education”, is also a force in these latest protests.

Pro-China youth group marches in Hong Kong in August
Occupy Central’s plans have also prompted counter-demonstrations – such as this pro-China march in August.

All three were arrested as the student demonstrations erupted but have since been released.

Pro-Beijing and pro-business parties tend to be against the campaign, and several anti-Occupy Central groups have also been set up. They claim to own the silent majority.


What are China’s biggest fears?

File photo: China's President Xi Jinping, 28 June 2014
Xi Jinping has kept a firm grip on power since becoming president in 2013

China does not want any movement that could be perceived as a challenge to its authority. Nor does it want a pro-democracy campaign spreading from Hong Kong to the mainland.

The fury in state media is palpable. It has accused “external forces” of meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs and encouraging “separatist sentiments”.

There has also been speculation over whether China would get involved in a crackdown. That would almost certainly be seen as an absolute last resort, given the likely international and business repercussions.


So what happens now?

Pro-democracy lawmakers hold up a banner and signs during a protest as Li Fei (seen on screen), deputy general secretary of the National People's Congress (NPC) standing committee, speaks during a briefing session in Hong Kong, 1 September 2014
Pro-democracy lawmakers have opposed political proposals that adhere to Beijing’s restrictions

Mr Leung says the government is ready for talks and a meeting is due to be held on 21 October.

It remains to be seen if the dialogue will bear fruit. On 3 October pro-democracy leaders threatened to call off talks if the government did not adequately protect them from attacks by anti-Occupy groups.

To enable direct elections in 2017, the Hong Kong government will have to present a political reform plan to Hong Kong’s law-making body, the Legislative Council, for a vote. Pro-democracy lawmakers, who hold enough seats for a veto, have said that they will vote down any proposal based on China’s ruling.

If the proposal is voted down, Hong Kong will be unable to implement universal suffrage, and its elections are expected to proceed as before, with a committee of 1,200 mostly pro-Beijing figures selecting the leader.

Before any of this, however, it needs to find a way out of the current impasse on the streets.


Ricky Lau makes balloons for the Umbrella movement. Photo: Shirley Zhao