Chinese local government criticised for spray-painting ‘drug-related family’ on trafficking suspects’ homes

Suggestions that the action is defamatory and an invasion of privacy as officials appear to backtrack before saying police will judge its success

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 4:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 4:34pm

A township government in southeast China has faced a backlash after spray-painting accusations onto houses as part of an anti-drugs campaign, according to news site

The Aojiang government in Guangdong province spray-painted “drug-related family” on 10 homes on Monday to indicate that a member of those households was suspected of major drug trafficking.

It was revealed on a WeChat channel named “Peaceful Aojiang”, in a post written by the Aojiang township drug control office.

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The actions have provoked disapproval, with suggestions that officials had violated the privacy of the households and went too far by trying to publicly shame citizens. Many people have said that they consider it defamation of character for the families, reported.

According to, a representative of the Aojiang township’s drug control office said on Tuesday that they recognised that the action was inappropriate and had begun removing the paint. The WeChat channel was deleted that day.

However, in an interview with that was published on Thursday, the Aojiang township party committee secretary said the impact of the campaign would first be monitored by police, and if it was felt to be successful then it would continue.

The controversy continued on Friday morning when Beijing Youth Daily criticised the “punishment through humiliation”, and called it “discriminatory” for those family members not suspected of a crime, with possible negative effects for minors in the family.

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Aojiang township is part of Huilai county, which was labelled a “severe drug situation focus area” by China’s National Narcotics Control Commission in 2014, according to the report.

Since 2017, the county had arrested 133 suspected drug offenders, seized over 80 kilograms of methamphetamines and nearly 450 kilograms of ephedrine, and busted seven drug trafficking organisations, the report stated.