Presenting author: Peng Xu
Presenting author biography:
A long-time harm reduction activist in China. He was a former drug user and has been on methadone for 9 years. Xu has obtained certificate for substance dependence and psychological counseling. In 2010, with support from OSI, Xu established an organization, provided health and legal support for PWUD.
No Exit: China’s State Surveillance over People Who Use Drugs
Peng Xu, Tingting Shen
In China, although drug use is an administrative and not criminal offense, individuals detained by public security authorities are subject to coercive or compulsory “treatment,” which can include community-based detoxification and rehabilitation and two years of compulsory isolation. Individuals are also entered into a system called the Drug User Internet Dynamic Control and Early Warning System, or simply the Dynamic Control System. The Dynamic Control System, run by the Ministry of Public Security, acts as an extension of China’s drug control efforts by monitoring the movement of people in the system and alerting police when individuals, for example, use their identity documents when registering at a hotel, conducting business at a government office or bank, registering a mobile phone, applying for tertiary education, or traveling. This alert typically results in an interrogation and a drug test by police. This paper seeks to summarize, using published government reports, news articles, and academic papers, what is known about the Dynamic Control System, focusing on the procedures of (1) registration; (2) management; and (3) exit. At each step, people subject to the Dynamic Control System face human rights concerns, especially related to the right to privacy, rights to education and work, and right to health.