CHAPTER ONE 11
THE CHINESE DRUG OFFENSIVE
In 1928 Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese Communist leader, instructed one of his trusted sub- ordinates, Tan Chen-lin, to begin cultivating opium on a grand scale1. Mao had two objectives: obtaining exchange for needed supplies and 'drugging the white region'2 where 'white' was an ideological, not racist, term that Mao used to refer to his non- Communist opposition. Mao's strategy was simple; use drugs to soften a target area. Then, after a captured region had been secured, outlaw the use of all narcotics and impose strict controls to ensure that the poppies remained exclusively an instrument of the state for use against its enemies.
Later, Mao would speak of using opium against the imperialists as only a modern phase in the opium wars that began in the 19th century. Opium was a powerful weapon that had been used by the imperialists against the Chinese and should be used against them in a second Opium War'. It was, Mao explained to Wang Chen in a lecture on his plan for planting opium, 'chemical warfare by indigenous methods'3. However, the fact that opium had previously been used against the Chinese was only a convenient excuse, not the real reason. Mao first began using opium as a political weapon against his own
people, the Chinese, during his drive to establish Communism throughout China. His use of opium expanded simply because it proved to be a very effective weapon.
As soon as Mao had totally secured mainland China in 1949, opium production was nationalised and trafficking of narcotics, targeted against non-Communist states, became a formal activity of the new Communist state, the People's Republic of China.
The Chinese trafficking operation expanded rapidly. Official targets were Japan, the United States military forces in the Far East, neighbouring countries throughout the Far East, and the United States mainland. The primary organisations involved in the early
1950s were the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Trade Ministry, and the Intelligence Service. North Korea was also trafficking narcotics4 in cooperation with China at this time, and was directly connected with the flow of drugs into Japan and into the US military bases in the Far East5.
The domestic narcotics problem in Japan had become serious by 19496. The Criminal Investigation Division of the American Armed Forces in Japan, together with the Japanese authorities, began constructing a net across the whole of Japan to determine how
the drugs were coming into the country7. By 1951, the Japanese had officially identified
narcotics illegally entering their country and the sources of the trafficking - which
12 RED COCAINE
were the Chinese and North Korean Communists. This trafficking was not limited to opium and heroin, but included hashish, marijuana, cocaine and dangerous synthetic stimulants such as hiropon and aminobutene group drugs8. These particular synthetics were especially dangerous and assessed to have been responsible for serious health problems which first appeared in Japan in the early 1950s.
The United States' experience was similar to that of Japan. New trafficking was first identified in the late 1940s. US narcotics and customs agents set up nets to identify the new sources and in 1951 began seizing large quantities of heroin at such major US ports as New York, San Francisco and Seattle9. The heroin was determined to have been manu- factured in China and the trafficking managed by the Chinese.
In concert with the emergence of Chinese international narcotics trafficking in 1949-
52, China's opium production increased steadily and reached a plateau of 2,000 to 3,000 tons per year. This production held steady until 1958-64, when production increased to roughly 8,000 tons as part of the 'great leap forward'10. The dates of these increases are important. As will be discussed in Chapter 11, in examining narcotics usage in the United States, there are two abrupt changes in the growth pattern that stand out. The use of narcotics in the United States declined during the 1930s and 1940s. Then beginning in
1949-52, an abrupt upswing took place simultaneously with the launching of China's narcotics trafficking operation. After 1952, narcotics consumption levelled off. Then, in the late 1950s to early 1960s, a second major upswing began. This second abrupt change in the growth pattern coincides almost precisely with a second expansion in the Chinese narcotics operation and with the entry of the Soviet Union into narcotics trafficking, as will be described later. This correlation is one of the indications that the growth in drug- trafficking and drug use within the United States and elsewhere is not a simple natural evolutionary process, or a phenomenon dominated by 'user demand'. Rather, there are strong sub-rosa forces at work stimulating and extending the consumption.
In the case of Chinese trafficking, there is no question that it was an official state activity. Data on the Chinese and North Korean trafficking enterprises were obtained by the Japanese internal security, US Army Intelligence, the US Narcotics Bureau operating with the assistance of undercover Treasury agents, and by CIA covert assets in China11. The data clearly identified production sources, manufacturing and packaging facilities, trafficking networks, and even management organisations12. As will be discussed later, the Chinese narcotics operation was also penetrated and watched by both Soviet intelligence and Czechoslovak intelligence, as were certain Chinese narcotics operations conducted jointly with the Communists in Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
China's narcotics operations also have been described by several Chinese officials who later left China and were granted political asylum in other countries. One such official who left in the late 1950s described a secret meeting of state officials in 1952, when the Chinese operation was reorganised, and a 20-year plan adopted13. At this meeting, decisions were made to standardise grades of narcotics, establish promotion regulations, set pricing schedules designed to encourage aggressive marketing, despatch sales repre- sentatives, expand research and production, and reorganise management responsibil- ities14. This information is also confirmed by data collected by Soviet and Czechoslovak intelligence agents, as will be discussed in greater detail in Chapters 4 and 6.
The organisation behind the Chinese narcotics operations was extensive and involved many ministries and agencies from the national down to the local levels. These organisations oversaw the reclamation of lands for production (Ministry of Forestry and
CHAPTER 1: The Chinese Drug Offensive 13
Reclamation); cultivation and research to produce better varieties of poppies (Ministry of Agriculture); development of opiates (Committee for the Review of Austerity); manage- ment of storage and preparation for export (Ministry of Commerce); management of external trade organisations (Ministry of Foreign Trade); statistical control and program- ming (Central Government Production Board); finance (Ministry of Finance); marketing through special representatives and political intrigue (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); and security and covert operations (Ministry of Public Security)15.
The trafficking tradecraft included classical smuggling; transportation by shipping companies (both knowingly and unknowingly); use of Communists and ethnic Chinese abroad; collaboration with international organised crime syndicates; use of foreign posts of mainland parent entities; abuse of diplomatic privilege; use of normal branded mer- chandise as a cover; transport by mail; and forgery or packaging with misleading trade- marks16. As will be seen later, Soviet drugs strategy and tactics employ quite similar techniques, organisation and management, targets, and motivations - albeit in the Soviet
Leninist style, and on a greatly magnified scale.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, probably the most important official exercising day- to-day control over China's narcotics operations was Chou En-lai. As the chief Soviet ideologist, Mikhail A. Suslov, explained during a major speech on China at a meeting of the Soviet Central Committee in February 1964, Chou En-lai's strategy was 'to disarm the capitalists with the things they like to taste [meaning drugs]'717.
Professor J. H. Turnbull was head of the Department of Applied Chemistry at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, United Kingdom, and an expert on nar- cotics trafficking and its strategic implications. In 1972, following the publicity focused on the massive use of narcotics against US soldiers in Southeast Asia (see Chapter 6), Turnbull prepared a succinct summary of Chinese narcotics trafficking strategy. Chinese trafficking, he wrote, was 'directed broadly at the major industrial sectors of the Free World. In purely commercial terms these offer obvious targets, since they provide both large [and] affluent markets..."8. These leading industrial sectors were particularly vul- nerable due to the open nature of the underlying society.
The production and distribution of drugs, Turnbull emphasised, was 'a valuable source of national income, and a powerful weapon of subversion'19. He then identified three basic objectives of Chinese subversive activities employing drugs: To finance sub- versive activities abroad; to corrupt and weaken the people of the Free World; and to destroy the morale of US servicemen fighting in Southeast Asia'20.
Turnbull's conclusion was almost identical to that reached twenty years earlier by the US Commissioner of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger. It is equally relevant today. The covert dissemination of opium narcotics, in particular the addictive drug heroin, for commercial and subversive purposes, represents one of the gravest threats to the armed services and societies of the Free World. The subversive operation must be recognised as a peculiar form of clandestine chemical warfare, in which the victim voluntarily exposes himself to chemical attack'21.
References to Chapter 1:
1. Chang Tse-min, A Follow-Up Report on Chinese Communist Crimes in Drugging the World
(Taipei: World Anti-Communist League, 1979), page 1.
2. Ibid., page 1; and A. H. Stanton Candlin, Psycho-Chemical Warfare: The Chinese Communist Drug
Offensive Against the West (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1973), page 73.
3. 'A Look at the Chinese Communist 'Strategy of Narcotic', unpublished paper by Maj. Gen. (Ret.),
14 RED COCAINE
Sing-yu Chu, Society for Strategic Studies, Taipei. Cited in The Inside Story of Red China's Opium Sales
(Taiwan: Hsueh Hai Press, May 1957).
4. Before and during the Korean War, North Korea was closely connected to Communist China. However, after the war, relations with China soured and North Korea became more closely aligned with the Soviet Union. North Korea provided Soviet intelligence with considerable data on the Chinese drug business.
5. See testimony of a Bureau of Narcotics, Treasury Department undercover agent in US Congress, Senate, Communist China and Illicit Narcotics Traffic, Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, March 8,18-19, and May 13,1955 (Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1955), pages 14-17.
6. J. H. Turnbull, Chinese Opium Narcotics: A Threat to the Survival of the West (Richmond, Surrey, England: Foreign Affairs Publishing Company, 1972), page 12.
7. See Harry J. Anslinger and William F. Tompkins, The Traffic in Narcotics (New York: Funk & Wag- nails Company, 1953), pages 70-116, and Gerd Hamburger, The Peking Bomb (Washington: Robert B. Luce, Inc., 1975), page 54. See also Richard Deacon, The Chinese Secret Service (New York: Ballantine Books,
1974), pages 449-450.
8. US Congress, Senate, Communist China and Illicit Narcotics Traffic, Hearings Before the Sub- committee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, March 8,18,1955, May 13,1955, and March 19,1955 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office; 1955), pages 34-91.
9. Victor Lasky, 'Red China's Secret Weapon', in Extension of Remarks of Hon. Norris Poulson, US Congress, House, Congressional Record- Appendix (Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, April 23,1953), page A2176.
10. See Candlin, Psycho-Chemical Warfare: The Chinese Communist Drug Offensive Against the West, op. cit., pages 108-118; Hamburger, The Peking Bomb, op. cit., page 235; and Communist China and Illicit Narcotics Traffic, op. cit, page 16.
11. Deacon, The Chinese Secret Service, op. cit, page 447, reports using as many as 37 separate reports from 26 individuals whom Deacon believed had interviewed as many as 50 to 60 defectors, police officers, secret agents, drug squad officers, and intelligence officers.
12. For extensive details and maps of production areas and trafficking routes, see Psycho-Chemical Warfare: The Chinese Communist Drug Offensive Against the West, op. cit, The Peking Bomb, op. cit, and various reports to the United Nations filed by the US Commissioner on Narcotics, Harry Anslinger.
13. Candlin, Psycho-Chemical Warfare: The Chinese Communist Drug Offensive Against the West, op. cit, page 195; and Hamburger, The Peking Bomb, op. cit, page 59.
14. Tokyo Shinbun, January 8,1953, cited in Richard L. G. Deverall, Mao Tse-tung: Stop This Dirty Opium Business! (Tokyo: Toyoh Printing and Bookbinding Co., 1954), pages 64-66. See also Candlin, Psy- cho-Chemical Warfare: The Chinese Communist Drug Offensive Against the West, op. cit, pages 195-
15. Candlin, Psycho-Chemical Warfare: The Chinese Communist Drug Offensive Against the West, op. cit, page 214.
16. Ibid., pages 215-216.
17. Interview with Jan Sejna who was present when Suslov discussed China's narcotics trafficking in detail. This data had been derived from Soviet intelligence.
18. Turnbull, Chinese Opium Narcotics, op. cit, page 15.
19. Ibid., page 15.
21. Ibid., page 16.