Hangzhou City Profile

In what ways are cities being affected by local drug usage?


What is the current drug situation in Hangzhou?

How are drugs affecting the city?

What is the local government's position on drug usage? What do the locals thing of drug usage?

Hangzhou overview:

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province, and home to Zhejiang University, one of the most prestigious universities in China. Hangzhou is also the location of China's only national wetland park, the XiXi National Wetland Park. Hangzhou is the fourth-largest metropolis in China, and home to 21.102 million people as of 2010. The city has seen a staggering growth from the year 2000, when the city held only 2.451 million people. This exponential growth is due to a movement of rural - urban migration . According to this website, the average age for rural-urban imigrants is 17.2 years old, and the reasons behind them moving is not because of harsh economic conditions in rural China, but the exciting pull of the cities. The influx of migrants has resulted in the urbanization of the land surrounding the city centre, which used to be a mass of beautiful scenery. While this scenery is still preserved, the Hangzhou government has adapted the layout of the outlying city so as to prevent distance decay. The Hangzhou government has relied on feedback mechanisms such as public surveys to better adapt the city so as to be more inclusive of the people living further away from the city centre, especially now that the city has expanded into a vast sprawling metropolis. One of the changes the government has made due to the feedback received was to create the metro line. It was opened in 2010. There is currently one line, with plans for another 12 by 2050.

China as a country is classified as an LEDC, but many believe it more appropriately classified an NIC, a Newly Industrialized Country. Upon first glance, the enormous economically prospering cities shadow the poverty-struck villages, and many are under the impression that China is full of the nouveau - riche, when in reality, those who can be considered more economically developed live along the coasts, and the majority of the Chinese population lives in these aforementioned poverty-stricken villages tucked away inland.  

Drug overview:

In Hangzhou, smoking marijuana on a scale of 1 - 5 is approximately a four. The abundance of KTV bars fosters an environment where alcohol, spiked drinks and the over-the-counter purchase of drugs such as special k (a mixture of ketamine and other unknown substances), ecstasy and others. In China, especially Hangzhou, the police are known to have sporadic periods of time where they feverishly wage war on drugs by conducting raids and arresting numerous people at once.

In August, 2012, a father brought his son KTV-ing to celebrate the son's high school graduation, and success at getting into a university. The father invited a few of his son's classmates, and the teacher that had helped the son get into university. At the KTV place, the father "ordered in ketamine and a drink containing methamphetamine to serve to his guests". The police raided the party, and eight of the people were found to have taken drugs.

In June, 2014, the Hangzhou police announced that they had disbanded a number of armed drug trafficking groups, capturing 93 suspects and seizing 8.7 kilograms of drugs. Among these drugs, there was "ice" and a synthetic drug called magu. From these gangs, the Hangzhou police also reported the seizing of imitation guns and weapon-grade knives.

A few days prior to making this announcement, in the district surrounding the Airport, the police captured a suspect believed to be a drug lord with nearly 3 kilograms of meth in his car. In that district in the first half of 2014, the police arrested 137 suspects in 598 drug cases, and seized 4.7 kilograms of drugs, mostly "Ice" and magu.

However, for the rest of the time, the police tend to be oblivious to the illegal happenings in Hangzhou, which is why, according to this website, drugs, especially marijuana, are practically legal. This correlates with the information above as the drug seizures featured in the news only tell of 'hard' drugs such as ketamine and ice being seized, indicating that the police do not care much for the illegal use of marijuana.


A survey was conducted by APHA to gain insight into the alcohol/drug use situation among 13-15 year old school children in Beijing, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Urumqi. There were 7344 responses from students in grades 7 - 9.

- 36.5% had experienced drinking

- 31.3% first drank alcohol at 13 years old or less

- 14.4% had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days.

- 9.9% had experienced drunkenness

- 5.1% had stuck in trouble because of drinking

- 1.6% had ever used illegal drugs.

All have significant city difference.

The results, after analysis, showed that older male students were the most inclined towards drink and drugs than young female students.

- 51.9% had been taught about safe alcohol use during the past school year, and 27.6% about skills of rejecting alcohol.

This survey and the results it gave are potentially useful to the Chinese government, as it could impact the way they educate students about alcohol and drugs. Based on this survey, one can conclude that the way students should be taught with specifications in accordance to their age/year group, and gender specified as well.

According to webehigh.org, the best place to purchase cannabis here in Hangzhou is at the Reggae Bar on Xue Yuan road, near Zhejiang University. At this bar, there are lots of University students smoking cannabis for fun, especially the international students coming to Hangzhou to learn Chinese. "They have a secluded stairway with tables where people sometimes buy/sell and smoke." - |


The map above pinpoints the locations of the registered KTV spots in Hangzhou. Feedback mechanisms allowed the KTV chains to determine where to open their next branch so as to be inclusive of the people living further away from the city centre, and not to let the form of entertainment suffer from distance decay. The reason I mention KTV is because it is common practice amongst Chinese businessmen to entertain partners by bringing them to KTV, and in the wee hours of the morning, sniffing ketamine powder in the shadows of the tables by the dancefloors in the club-like section connected to the KTV rooms in the huge KTV buildings.

Follow - up questions:
Sadly, there was only a limited amount of information on Hangzhou's drug culture. It would've been interesting to have been able to catch an interview with a local, or a Zhejiang University student, to interview them about Hangzhou's drug culture. I wish there was more information online regarding drug statistics in Hangzhou, as well as the municipal government's views on drug use. There are no important figures mentioned on the internet. It would've been interesting to have gotten an interview with a drug supplier as they often leave their emails on websites such as webehigh, which is the website I used to obtain information on the illegal consumption of cannabis in Hangzhou.

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