China executes 4, sentences 15 to death for drug trafficking

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China executed four convicted drug traffickers and sentenced at least 15 others to death Tuesday as the nation marked global anti-drug day, state press reported.

Courts in four Chinese provinces sentenced a total of 117 people for drug trafficking on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Xinhua news agency said.

Three Taiwanese men were executed in southeast China's Fujian province after being convicted of smuggling methamphetamine, also known as ice, across the Taiwan strait, the report said.

Another man was executed in northeast China's Jilin province after being convicted of trafficking four kilogrammes (8.8 pounds) of the same substance, it said.

China executes more people every year than the rest of the world combined, according to Amnesty International.

Of the 15 convicted drug traffickers sentenced to death on Tuesday, nine were given a two-year reprieve, meaning their sentences will likely be commuted to life in prison if they behave during that period.

"Chinese courts nationwide have been carrying out public trials over drug trafficking or destroying drugs to make people aware of the harms of drugs," Xinhua said of the anti-drug day.

Police in southwest China's Yunnan province, which borders the "Golden Triangle" poppy growing region in Myanmar and Laos, detained 167 drug trafficking suspects and seized 528 tonnes of precursor chemicals last year, the report added.

On Tuesday authorities destroyed more than 55 tonnes of the confiscated chemicals which are used to produce heroin and methamphetamine, the report said.

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