Drug Trafficking In China and South Africa

Transnational Crime: Drug Trafficking In China and South Africa

Drug trafficking is a great menace in the world. In the discourse in which this vice unfolds, the governments of China and South Africa have found themselves entrenched in a ditch, fighting this transnational crime for years with only less milestone at hand. Illicit drug use is on the increase in the two countries, and it has become usual to hear the news of South Africans arrested in China for drug trafficking. Drug trafficking does not only affect the economies of the two countries, but it also deteriorates the health qualities of their citizens respective.

Under the Chinese law, drug trafficking is the act of smuggling, transporting, and selling illicit drugs within or without the country borders. According to Zhang and Chin (2015), drug trafficking is on the rise in China with the research reports indicating that there are about 2.5 million drug addicts by the year 2016. The said number increases every year. The measures used in determining the extensiveness in China are surveys taken from compulsory drug treatment centers and the inmates. On the other hand, drug trafficking in South Africa is defined as being in possession or dealing with, or having access to the manufacture of or supplying illegal drugs into the country (Monyakane, 2016). Although, the rate of this crime is not defined quite well in South Africa, there are indications the country could be a giant in drug trafficking marked with the high number of its citizens interdicted elsewhere in the world such as in China. South Africa, too, uses surveys as a measure for drug trafficking.

While China has strict regulations regarding passing punishment of the drug traffickers including the passing of a death penalty, as stated by Zhang and Chin (2015), South Africa seems a bit lenient. In China, the courts would imprison one for over 15 years for being in possession of more than 15 kilograms of cocaine; the authorities use an extensive network of informants to carry out interdictions that majorly target major drug trafficking organizations (Zhang & Chin, 2015). Similarly, Monyakane (2016) revealed that a person found guilty of drug trafficking in South Africa is liable to a fine or an imprisonment for no longer than ten years. The length of the prison terms depends on the severity of the offense in both countries. The punishment for drug trafficking in both nations has not worked efficiently in managing the offense as the offense is still on the increase in both countries. As a consequence, experts suggest that Chinese government should adopt educative programs in the eradication of illicit drug use instead of the harsh penalties which bear little fruits. As a matter of fact, the South Africans should improve their institutions to wedge a successful war on illegal drug trade.

The data obtained from surveys in the two countries do not satisfactorily compare for various reasons. Hays (2015) noted that the Chinese research mainly focuses on the main drug trafficking organizations while the South African’s is non-specific (Monyakane, 2016). The efforts put by the governments of the two countries differ on the scales of institutions, resources, and personnel and even commitment. As for the previously mentioned assertion, the world views the Chinese government as more committed to fighting the war against the drug lords even seeking corporations with the United States to fight drug trafficking. Unfortunately, such commitments are not entirely traceable with South Africans who have become a great hub for drug trafficking in the world.




Zhang, S. X., & Chin, K. L. (2015). A People’s War: China’s Struggle to contain its Illicit Drug Problem. Brookings Institution, 1.

 Hays, J. (2015, July). Drug trafficking in China. Retrieved on April 9, 2017 from http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat11/sub74/entry-4481.html

Monyakane, M. M. M. E. (2016, June). The South African Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 Read with the South African Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997: An Example of a One Size Fits All Punishment? In Criminal Law Forum (Vol. 27, pp. 227-254). Springer Netherlands.
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