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Chinese stars launch war on drugs

Chinese actress Sun Qian signs a commitment to stay away from drugs at an anti-drug event on Wednesday, August 13, in Beijing. (Wang Zhenlong for China Daily)

Publication Date : 15-08-2014

 

Entertainment industry agencies and performing companies in Beijing have pledged not to hire any actors connected with drugs, after a series of celebrity narcotic-use scandals broke out in the past few months.

The Beijing Trade Association for Performances and 42 performing art agencies and groups have signed a commitment, promising that they will not hire any actors who are connected with drugs, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

The organisations and companies also pledged to educate employees about anti-drug laws regularly and urge employees not to use illegal drugs, according to the report.

In the past four months, Beijing police have arrested 963 people suspected of drug crimes, a 35 per cent increase year-on-year. Among those arrested, 58 are accused of involvement in drug trafficking and smuggling, according to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on Monday.

Several celebrities have been detained on drug charges after President Xi Jinping declared in June that illegal drugs should be wiped out and that offenders would be severely punished.

The latest celebrity to be detained on drug charges is Gao Hu, a 40-year-old actor from Qingdao, Shandong province.

Gao is one of the leads in director Cao Baoping's new movie The Dead End, which will be released in November.

He has also played in quite a few popular movies and TV dramas, including director Zhang Yimou's movie The Flowers of War in 2011, which starred Christian Bale.

On August 12, Beijing police announced the detention of Gao for possession and use of marijuana and methamphetamine, along with a businessman, a female model and an actor.

Gao confessed that he had been smoking marijuana and he tested positive after his arrest on August 4, police said.

Not long before, Zhang Mo, actor and son to actor and director Zhang Guoli, made news headlines when police confirmed he was arrested for using drugs on July 29, following his arrest over marijuana use in 2012 when police searched his home after receiving a tip.

In June, Beijing police detained screenwriter and novelist Chen Wanning, whose pen name is Ning Caishen, for possession and use of methamphetamine in an apartment in Beijing.

That same month, film director Zhang Yuan was arrested for drug offenses at a Beijing railway station, after he allegedly tried to evade a random drug check.

A total of nine entertainment industry people have been detained on drug charges, and most of them are celebrities.

The detention list also includes Li Daimo, who was arrested in March for taking illegal drugs in an apartment, and Hong Kong actor Roy Cheung, 51, who was arrested while smoking marijuana in a Beijing hotel in July.

Qu Xiao, movie producer and founder of Beijing Qiyu Ji Culture and Media Company, sees the pledge initiated by the entertainment industry association and companies as a serious warning to performers.

"The government is faithful to control illegal drug use and corruption. Entertainment industry people are not excluded from that mission," Qu says.

"Those who don't believe in the government's determination and continue with illegal drug use will regret it sooner or later."

 

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