The reported arrests of two staff members working at Beijing international schools this week serve as a solemn reminder of the importance of complying with local laws.
Beijingkids understands that a husband and wife, working at two different schools, have been arrested, allegedly for using cannabis. Both have been summarily dismissed by their employers. It remains unclear if the staff were foreign or local.
The arrests come at a time when much of the Western world has been moving towards legalizing or at least decriminalizing the use of cannabis. The drug can be legally bought and consumed in many US states and several European countries.
However, the trend in China is moving in the opposite direction. At one time the use of what was viewed as a “foreign” drug by foreigners was largely ignored by police. However in the last few years, there has been a crackdown on all drugs, and cannabis is no exception.
In April 2015, five students at a Beijing international school, two New Zealanders and three Americans, were arrested for smoking cannabis. Raids on bars popular with expats, involving the compulsory urine testing of all customers, have become commonplace. For those arrested, immediate deportation with no chance to pack their belongings is the best case scenario. The less fortunate could spend long periods in detention prior to deportation, without charge or legal representation. And for those convicted of selling harder drugs like heroin, the death sentence is regularly imposed.
It’s important to remember that whatever the legal status of cannabis in your home country, it is strictly prohibited in China; and also that cannabis persists in the bloodstream in detectable amounts for weeks after use. If you are found to have drugs in your system, the argument that you were using them legally in a different jurisdiction is unlikely to be much help to you. And while cannabis is often regarded as being harmless, recent studies have found a link between regular use of stronger strains and psychosis.
If you’re concerned about someone’s drug use, you may find this article helpful.
Photo: Adobe Creative Cloud