Four UK citizens arrested in China days after drug crackdown involving foreigners

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 13, 2019

The police statement did not identify the foreigners.

"We are in contact with the Chinese authorities following the arrest of four British people in Jiangsu province, and are providing consular assistance", said the British embassy in Beijing.

Police gave no other details on specific nationalities or facts of the case. The rest are under administrative detention; the case is now ongoing and police haven't provided further information regarding the nationalities of the other foreigners.

According to official sources, the foreign nationals involved in the case were language teachers from a private educational institution, believed to be the EF Education First at the Xuzhou Center.

There are extremely severe penalties for drug offences in China.

Foreigners under administrative detention could spend up to 15 days in jail, and be deported from China after that period; however, being in administrative detention doesn't block future criminal charges.

The embassy did not comment on the circumstances leading to the arrests in Jiangsu province.

All teaching staff from English-speaking countries should have language qualifications such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT).

Earlier this month, an editorial in Communist Party mouthpiece China Daily blasted cannabis culture in other countries and noted that legalised marijuana in other countries doesn't present expats "an excuse for breaking China's drug law".

She said the embassy could not confirm whether the arrests were related to the drugs case.

The EF centre told Xinhua it had a "zero tolerance" policy towards drugs, adding that it was deeply regretful that some of its teachers were involved.

However, when asked if all foreign teachers at the school are approved by the government and have been issued with a valid work license, a spokesperson at the institution said they had no information in this regard.

Calls to the company's headquarters in Switzerland were unanswered.

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