A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced nine people for smuggling fentanyl, as Beijing aims to show it is addressing concerns from the U.S. about the illicit flow of opioids from China.
One person was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by the Intermediate People’s Court of Xingtai in north China, according to Xinhua news agency.
A reprieved death sentence can be commuted down to life imprisonment if the convict shows good behaviour in the allotted time.
Two other people were sentenced to life in prison, while the remaining six defendants received prison sentences ranging from six months to 10 years.
The U.S. is experiencing an opioid crisis, with the powerful opioid painkiller fentanyl and similar substances the main killers among drug users in North America.
U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed China for the flow of fentanyl into the U.S., and the drug’s export has become one of the points of contention in the trade war between the two countries.
The sentencing comes as Beijing and Washington are negotiating an interim deal after more than 20 months of trade tensions.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Muhammad Suleiman Tola