Chinese woman says growing opium plants 'for hotpot seasoning'

By Minh Nga   May 13, 2024 | 11:10 pm PT
A woman from Zhejiang Province has received a six-month suspended sentence, effective for one year, along with a fine of 3,000 yuan (US$420) for growing poppy plants at her house, claiming to use them for making hotpot.

According to Taijiang County People's Court, the woman, identified by the surname Zhang, had planted more than 900 poppy plants on her home’s rooftop, cited China Daily.

The illegal crop was discovered in February when authorities, using drones for a separate surveillance mission, spotted the plants on the rooftop.

Police investigation confirmed the presence of over 900 plants and testing of the samples confirmed they were opium poppies.

Zhang explained that she received the seeds from her late father and planted them because she enjoyed using them as a seasoning in hotpot, South China Morning Post reported.

She faced charges for cultivating plants that are the source of an illegal drug. The court opened last month opted for a lenient sentence because she admitted to the charges and showed sincere remorse.

China strictly prohibits opium and other drugs, and the cultivation of poppies is tightly regulated by the government. Anyone found growing poppies without official authorization is subject to legal repercussions, which can include imprisonment or fines.

However, there is a traditional belief that a ground form of the plant can enhance the flavor of popular dishes.

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