BEIJING, June 25 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping promised a crackdown on drug use and drug-related crimes in a statement Wednesday.
Xi called on authorities to adopt what the Chinese news agency Xinhua called "forceful measures" to stop the sale and use of illegal drugs. The statement came the day before International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
In instructions to police several days ago, Premier Li Keqiang urged international cooperation to halt the spread of drugs.
The country's Supreme People's Court announced a rise in the number of people convicted of drug-related crimes. It said 39,762 were sentenced for drug offenses in the first four months of 2014, a 27.8 percent increase over last year. It added four people were executed for drug trafficking, drug production or homicide involving drugs.
Ma Yan, a deputy judge with the court, said about 9,000 received death sentences or imprisonments of over five years. He added police in 2013 broke up 291 drug trafficking groups.
"Drug crimes have been spreading from border and coastal areas inland," Ma said.