House Passes Bill to Hold Chinese Officials Accountable for Flow of Fentanyl Into US

The House on July 25 passed a bill aimed at holding Chinese officials accountable for the spread of illicit fentanyl to the United States.  H.R. 3203, also referred to as the Stop Chinese Fentanyl Act of 2023, would expand the definition of a “foreign fentanyl trafficker” in a 2019 sanctions law to include any Chinese entity involved in producing, selling, distributing, or financing synthetic opioids or precursors. The bill’s main sponsor Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) said that he wants to “attack the production of fentanyl at its source.” “The culpability of the Chinese Communist Party in this epidemic in our country does not end when the precursor products land in Mexico or illegally cross our southern border. We must look at every step of fentanyl’s deadly supply chain,” he said in a speech at the House floor on Tuesday.  Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023.(Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times) Under the bill, an entity in China that fails to take “credible steps” to detect or prevent opioid trafficking, and any senior Chinese officials who have oversight on the issue or have not taken concrete measures to combat foreign opioid traffickers will also face sanctions. The legislation would also compel the president to determine whether multiple top Chinese officials, including the heads of the National Narcotics Control Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the General Administration of Customs, and the National Medical Products Administration, are “foreign opioid traffickers.”  Fentanyl has been fueling the ongoing opioid crisis currently devastating communities in the United States. Latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May shows that close to 110,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, two-thirds of which involve synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.   China is the primary source of fentanyl precursors. In June, the Department of Justice filed charges against four Chinese chemical manufacturers and eight Chinese nationals for their role in the illicit fentanyl supply chain. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration during the probe seized over 440 pounds of fentanyl-related precursors, which is enough to kill roughly 25 million Americans. In April, the Treasury Department also sanctioned two Chinese entities for allegedly supplying precursor chemicals to Mexican drug cartels for producing fentanyl intended for U.S. markets.  “We need to stop China from spreading fentanyl into Mexico and getting it up in here,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times. If anything, he said, “that saves lives.” An officer from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Trade and Cargo Division finds Oxycodone pills in a parcel at John F. Kennedy Airport’s US Postal Service facility in New York on June 24, 2019. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images) From the same border state is Rep. Henry Cuellar (D), who emphasizes that “most drugs come through ports of entry.”  “Fentanyl or the precursors that come from China, from India will come into two Mexican ports, and then from there, they get involved with the drug cartels and then they’re sending off 75 percent of them through California, Arizona because that drug cartel controls that. So we have to make sure that we go after those sources,” he told The Epoch Times.  Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) sees more to be done to curb the fentanyl inflow.  “It’s ridiculous that we even have this conversation that China is poisoning Americans,” she told The Epoch Times, adding that she sees sanctions and “making sure that we secure our border” as two important steps to take.  The State Department said on Monday that they have been pushing for a working group with Beijing to stop the flow of precursor chemicals from China to Mexico.  Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson for the Department of State, would not comment on the bill when asked by The Epoch Times.  “Addressing fentanyl and fentanyl precursor products continues to be something that we will raise directly with PRC officials,” he said, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

House Passes Bill to Hold Chinese Officials Accountable for Flow of Fentanyl Into US

The House on July 25 passed a bill aimed at holding Chinese officials accountable for the spread of illicit fentanyl to the United States. 

H.R. 3203, also referred to as the Stop Chinese Fentanyl Act of 2023, would expand the definition of a “foreign fentanyl trafficker” in a 2019 sanctions law to include any Chinese entity involved in producing, selling, distributing, or financing synthetic opioids or precursors.

The bill’s main sponsor Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) said that he wants to “attack the production of fentanyl at its source.”

“The culpability of the Chinese Communist Party in this epidemic in our country does not end when the precursor products land in Mexico or illegally cross our southern border. We must look at every step of fentanyl’s deadly supply chain,” he said in a speech at the House floor on Tuesday. 

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023.(Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Under the bill, an entity in China that fails to take “credible steps” to detect or prevent opioid trafficking, and any senior Chinese officials who have oversight on the issue or have not taken concrete measures to combat foreign opioid traffickers will also face sanctions.

The legislation would also compel the president to determine whether multiple top Chinese officials, including the heads of the National Narcotics Control Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the General Administration of Customs, and the National Medical Products Administration, are “foreign opioid traffickers.” 

Fentanyl has been fueling the ongoing opioid crisis currently devastating communities in the United States. Latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May shows that close to 110,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, two-thirds of which involve synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.  

China is the primary source of fentanyl precursors. In June, the Department of Justice filed charges against four Chinese chemical manufacturers and eight Chinese nationals for their role in the illicit fentanyl supply chain. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration during the probe seized over 440 pounds of fentanyl-related precursors, which is enough to kill roughly 25 million Americans.

In April, the Treasury Department also sanctioned two Chinese entities for allegedly supplying precursor chemicals to Mexican drug cartels for producing fentanyl intended for U.S. markets. 

“We need to stop China from spreading fentanyl into Mexico and getting it up in here,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times. If anything, he said, “that saves lives.”

Epoch Times Photo
An officer from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Trade and Cargo Division finds Oxycodone pills in a parcel at John F. Kennedy Airport’s US Postal Service facility in New York on June 24, 2019. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

From the same border state is Rep. Henry Cuellar (D), who emphasizes that “most drugs come through ports of entry.” 

“Fentanyl or the precursors that come from China, from India will come into two Mexican ports, and then from there, they get involved with the drug cartels and then they’re sending off 75 percent of them through California, Arizona because that drug cartel controls that. So we have to make sure that we go after those sources,” he told The Epoch Times. 

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) sees more to be done to curb the fentanyl inflow. 

“It’s ridiculous that we even have this conversation that China is poisoning Americans,” she told The Epoch Times, adding that she sees sanctions and “making sure that we secure our border” as two important steps to take. 

The State Department said on Monday that they have been pushing for a working group with Beijing to stop the flow of precursor chemicals from China to Mexico. 

Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson for the Department of State, would not comment on the bill when asked by The Epoch Times. 

“Addressing fentanyl and fentanyl precursor products continues to be something that we will raise directly with PRC officials,” he said, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.