Lawmakers: China ‘killing’ US with fentanyl

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A pair of lawmakers from different sides of the aisle sounded the alarm over China’s role in America’s fentanyl crisis, with one calling the drug a “weapon of mass destruction.”

“I knew that China was the producer [of fentanyl], I’ve known that for a long time and that we need to take action against China. But what’s worse about it, is that they’re not just producing it and turning a blind eye, they are incentivizing it,” Rep. Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.) said Tuesday on NewsNation’s “Cuomo” with Chris Cuomo.

“They incentivize companies to produce drugs and chemicals that are illegal in their country, just as long as they export it,” he continued. “So China is killing us with a weapon of mass destruction. Not only people in the United States, but across the West.”

Giménez is a member of the House Select Committee on China’s Communist Party, which released a report Tuesday that found China is subsidizing the manufacturing and export of materials used to make fentanyl through tax rebates.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the ranking member of the committee, pointed out that the U.S. apparently suffers a higher number of fentanyl-linked deaths than China, despite the latter country’s production of the drug.

“One is that 97 percent of illicit fentanyl in the U.S. comes from China. There were zero reported deaths related to fentanyl in China. But 110,000 fentanyl related deaths in the U.S. at the same time, which shows you two things,” he told Cuomo. “One, the Chinese know exactly how to police drug trafficking and fentanyl in China, and they execute people who deal in fentanyl in China. But when it comes to fentanyl exported to the U.S., they either turn a blind eye or worse.”

The Hill could not immediately verify Krishnamoorthi’s statistics.

The House panel’s finding that China — under the Chinese Communist Party’s control — is directly funding the global fentanyl crisis followed a months-long investigation into Chinese websites, government documents and data points for narcotics.

Pressed for a reason why Congress has yet to take action to curb fentanyl after vowing to do so a year ago, Krishnamoorthi said, “I don’t know. I think that the most likely scenario is that it just wasn’t high enough of a priority.”

He said the panel has some “very specific recommendations” it intends to push for to fight the drug crisis.

Cuomo pointed out that a lot of the past action on the issue has been aimed at Mexico, rather than China.

When asked if Tuesday’s report will lead to action more directly targeted at China, Krishnamoorthi said the U.S. must leverage access to its market.

“It turns out that there are tens of thousands of companies in China that do quote-unquote, legitimate business, taking advantage of the American market,” he said. “And then they have a side hustle of exporting illegal fentanyl precursors to the American market. At the same time, we should absolutely sanction the hell out of them until they stop this nonsense.”

Giménez further argued the U.S. needs to “decouple” with China in order to make any headway.

“It going to hurt but you know what? We need to stop funding the instrument of our destruction, and that’s what China is,” Giménez said. “And this is part of a larger strategy by them to destabilize the West, to corrupt the West, to kill our young people. And they’ve been doing it for years.”

Fentanyl kills more than 200 Americans every day and is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45, per the panel’s report.

A task force, titled the U.S.-PRC Counternarcotics Working Group, was recently created to assist in the joint American and Chinese efforts to curb fentanyl supplies to the U.S. A group of officials with the task force met earlier this year in Beijing to begin discussions on these goals.

The Chinese and American governments began openly communicating about drug controls last November following years of little cooperation.

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