Woman sentenced for growing 2,200 poppy plants for upset stomach
2015-11-18 13:57:00


NANJING - A local court in east China's Jiangsu Province has sentenced a woman to two years in prison for growing thousands of poppy plants.

The woman, only identified by her surname Wang, was sentenced with a two-year reprieve and fined 5,000 yuan ($784) after she was convicted of growing more than 2,200 opium poppy plants in her backyard in Tashan Township, Ganyu County, the county court said on Wednesday.

Wang, a local farmer, said she asked for a poppy seed from a market vendor in 2014, when she found the plant was capable of easing her stomachache. She was detained in a police raid in May, when the flowers sprung up in her backyard, the court said.

China bans the growth of poppies, with Criminal Law stipulating whoever cultivates more than 500 plants but no more than 3,000 will be face fines, as well as fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention or public surveillance.

Wang said she never grew the poppies intentionally, and that the plants were purely grown to treat her stomachache.

The story has fueled a heated discussion on microblog Sina Weibo.

"With more than 2,200 poppy plants, how can she say the plants were not grown intentionally?" wrote microblog Weibo user "Shaogonggandmeichangsu".

In recent years, a number of poppy-related stories have come to light in China, particularly in the food industry, with some small restaurants and snack bars adding poppy seeds containing morphine to food to keep customers coming back for more.

In June, two managers of a restaurant in central China's Hubei Province were arrested on suspicion of adding parts of the opium poppy plant to dishes.

Doctors say the seeds contain only a small amount of alkaloid, but long-term consumption will lead to addiction, damage to the nervous system and intoxication.

Source:Xinhua Editor:Hiram