In order to raise awareness for the city’s anti-drug campaign, officials in Jilin tried out a rather unorthodox method of drug disposal, setting fire to 170kg of confiscated narcotics in a large-scale public event on Wednesday.
Bundles of seized cannabis, opium, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy were all set ablaze by police, none of whom apparently thought to wear a mask. Improbably, a large amount of smoke emerged from the burnin‘ bundles of narcotics, sending police and some people in the crowd scampering for safety. Though, we assume that a few people were probably pretty stoked.
Jilin officials’ curious decision to hold a public drug smoking event was met with a fair bit of mockery online. “Why is everyone running downwind?” one netizen wondered. Meanwhile, other netizens are convinced that police burned nothing more than a symbolic bunch of flour and corn starch. “If it were the real thing, no one at that ceremony would be able to sleep tonight,” one netizen reasoned.
Of course, this isn’t the first large-scale drug destruction in China’s long history. Just last year a city in Hunan held a public drug burning ceremony to commemorate the Humen Opium Destruction of 1839 when Qing Dynasty Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu confiscated and destroyed the opium stocks of Western traders in Guangzhou, inadvertently beginning China’s century of humiliation.
Lin, though, used a rather more rational method of getting rid of the confiscated drugs:
At an elevated spot on the shore a space was barricaded in; here a pit was dug, and filled with opium mixed with brine: into this, again, lime was thrown, forming a scalding furnace, which made a kind of boiling soup of the opium. In the evening the mixture was let out by sluices, and allowed to flow out to sea with the ebb tide.