Trump gleefully encourages China to execute drug dealers

Citing the number of people dying from fentanyl overdoses, President Donald Trump on Wednesday gleefully tweeted his support for China to start executing drug dealers.

“One of the very exciting things to come out of my meeting with President Xi of China is his promise to me to criminalize the sale of deadly Fentanyl coming into the United States,” he tweeted. “If China cracks down on this ‘horror drug,’ using the Death Penalty for distributors and pushers, the results will be incredible!”

One of the very exciting things to come out of my meeting with President Xi of China is his promise to me to criminalize the sale of deadly Fentanyl coming into the United States. It will now be considered a “controlled substance.” This could be a game changer on what is…….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2018

 

…..considered to be the worst and most dangerous, addictive and deadly substance of them all. Last year over 77,000 people died from Fentanyl. If China cracks down on this “horror drug,” using the Death Penalty for distributors and pushers, the results will be incredible!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2018

 

It’s worth noting that the United States does not use the death penalty for drug traffickers, and that the policy of funding the “war on drugs” in countries that do execute traffickers and dealers is as ineffective as it is inhumane.

China has executed drug offenders, although fentanyl — a synthetic opioid — was not on the country’s list of controlled substances until now. China already leads the world in the number of executions, but it’s tough to know how many are killed on drug offenses.

Iran, which is also one of the world’s leading executioners, tends to publicize drug-related executions via state media. An estimated 205 of the roughly 507 put to death in Iran in 2017 (according to numbers gathered by Amnesty International) were killed on drug charges, but after pressure from European partners funding its anti-trafficking measures, Iran early this year passed a law easing the parameters for offenses that result in capital punishment. There had been movement among Iran’s lawmakers to change the law for some time, as officials realized that killing people was not solving anything.

There are no reliable numbers for how many people China has executed — nor how many it has put to death for drug offenses — but according to Amnesty International, “thousands of executions … were believed to have been carried out in China” in 2017.

Despite that, its own state media reports that parts of the country are “plagued with rampant drug production and trafficking.”

With his tweet, President Trump, who has also mused that executing drug traffickers in the United States might be a good idea, is also promoting executions in a justice system that seldom grants appeals or opportunities for reform.

For instance, in the province of Guangdong in June 2017, 18 people were publicly sentenced to death, with eight of those people being executed immediately after sentencing. Chilling footage of another such sentencing in December of the same year — which included drug traffickers — was described thusly by the BBC:

[Footage] shows convicts being surrounded by armed guards and led onto raised platforms to individually receive their sentences … After they have been sentenced, they are then led onto another platform on the back of a police car surrounded by armed guards and are driven away. For some of them, the journey is directly to the firing range.

Aside from promoting practices that are in violation of human rights, President Trump is also neglecting the fact that these measures simply do not work.

For one thing, the dealers and mules — those who are paid to carry the drugs across borders — are the lowliest members of any drug cartel.

They are often poor, desperate and incredibly disposable. Sending them to the gallows is not going to slow the roll of any kingpin, nor will it actually solve the root problems of addiction.

Read more: thinkprogress.org