China / Chine

The Post-1950s Rise of Illegal Opium in Asia

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2022 / The Oxford Handbook of Global Drug History.

Opium, the ancient narcotic, has fascinated the West where tastes for the exotic arose alongside British and French colonialism. The mystery of poppy origins is equaled by the opacity of the two largest illegal opium-producing regions that emerged after 1950: the so-called Golden Triangle, in Burma (Myanmar) in mainland Southeast Asia; and Golden Crescent, in Afghanistan, in Southwest Asia. Illegal opium production in these two regions developed as part of the deep historical, geographic, and political complexity that explain their remoteness, lawlessness, and protracted armed conflicts. As a result, scholars of various disciplines have long researched opium production, trade, consumption, and traditions. This chapter examines the causes and dynamics of illegal opium production, including how illegal opium production has benefited from the turmoil of Asian history and geopolitics, from synergies between war economies and drug economies, from underdevelopment and poverty, and from decades of failed often-counterproductive anti-drug policies.

The Golden Triangle: Regression then Reform?

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2021 / In: Transforming the War on Drugs. Warriors, Victims and Vulnerable Regions (ed. Idler & Garzon Vegara) / The Golden Triangle: Regression then Reform?

Cannabis cultivation in the world: heritages, trends and challenges

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2019 / Echogéo.

Despite cannabis being the most common illegal drug crop in the world and its worldwide presence, very little is known about its production, trade, and consumption at the global scale. This is due mostly to over a century of global prohibition and the dangers associated to researching illegal drug crop production. Worse, the limited data available about cannabis cultivation is most often inaccurate, unreliable, and highly controversial. While this has always been problematic, in terms of sheer knowledge and informed policy-making, it has now become even more acute of an issue as global trends towards decriminalisation and legalisation are already provoking negative unintended consequences in poor producing countries. This article is an effort to present the state of the current knowledge and the present and future stakes of the fast-changing cannabis industry and legislation.

La guerre contre la drogue : bilan d’un échec

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2015 / La Vie des idées.

Lancée il y a plus d’un siècle, la guerre contre la drogue s’est soldée par un échec retentissant, multipliant les trafics, renforçant la production et la consommation tout en réprimant les paysans producteurs et les consommateurs. Il est temps de donner les moyens à un développement alternatif cohérent.

La frontière, interface des trafics dans le Triangle d’or

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2014 / L'espace politique.

Production et trafic de drogues se développent depuis plusieurs décennies dans l’espace dit du Triangle d’or, au cœur des hautes terres de l’éventail nord-indochinois : de la contrebande d’opium au trafic d’héroïne et de méthamphétamine. La région, espace altitudinal, périphérique et marginal, polyethnique et interétatique de production illégale d’opium et de méthamphétamine, apparaît aussi complexe que les trafics qui y ont cours. Routes, frontières et autres discontinuités spatiales fournissent la trame du trafic de drogue et, dans une certaine mesure, des conflits et de la lutte antidrogue qui rendent les activités illégales possibles et rentables.

Drug trafficking in and out of the Golden Triangle

Pierre--Arnaud Chouvy / 2013 /
An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia.

The Golden Triangle is the name given to the area of mainland Southeast Asia where most of the world’s illicit opium has originated since the early 1950s and until 1990, before Afghanistan’s opium production surpassed that of Burma. Although Burmese opium production has also considerably decreased after 1998, it has nevertheless proven to be geographically and historically resilient. This article explains in detail the emergence and the evolution of the drug traffikcing routes in and out of the Golden Triangle, as well as the anti-trafficking policies and actions undertaken by the regional states.