China this week dismissed the idea it is the source of fentanyl that is being trafficked across the U.S.-Mexico border, and said the drug crisis was “completely made in the USA.”
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said Mexico never informed China of “scheduled fentanyl precursors” coming from its shores, even though Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping asking for his help in stopping the drug cartels’ import of the substances.
“There is no such thing as illegal trafficking of fentanyl between China and Mexico. We two countries have a smooth channel of counternarcotics cooperation and the competent authorities of the two countries maintain sound communication,” she said. “China has not been notified by Mexico on the seizure of scheduled fentanyl precursors from China.”
Obrador’s letter came after U.S. lawmakers accused him of not doing enough to stop fentanyl coming across the southern border.
Roughly 14,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized at legal entry points at the border in fiscal year 2022. The GOP has ratcheted up its rhetoric against Beijing and Mexico City in response, accusing both of harboring hostile actors intent on killing Americans.
Drug Enforcement Administration chief Anne Milgram called fentanyl “the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.”
However, on Wednesday, the Chinese spokesperson claimed the crisis is entirely self-created. “[T]he U.S. has the most acute fentanyl challenge in the world,” she said.
“The abuse of fentanyl in the U.S. has become even worse, leading to more deaths. The root cause of the overdose lies in the U.S. itself,” she said. “The problem is completely ‘made in USA.’ The U.S. needs to face up to its own problems, take more substantial measures to strengthen domestic regulation and reduce demand. It cannot relapse into the illness of ’letting others take the pill when it is sick.’”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have accused China of being the origin of some illicit drugs in the U.S.
“China mainly sends it to Mexico, and it comes across the border. And that’s why we need the DEA involved heavily,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said last month of an uptick in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine, also known as Tranq. Schumer called xylazine, which is legal in the U.S. to treat animals, “a deadly, skin-rotting zombie drug.”
China lobbed the accusation during a press conference a day after U.S. House lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California, over the CCP’s objections.