China Executes Former Food Safety Head

Ex-director of China’s food and drug safety agency is put to death for taking 6.49 million yuan in bribes and dereliction of duty.

BEIJING (Kyodo) - China executed Tuesday a former director of the country's food and drug safety agency, state-run media reported.
Zheng Xiaoyu, 63, was sentenced to death on charges of taking 6.49 million yuan in bribes and dereliction of duty, Xinhua News Agency reported.
''Zheng's dereliction of duty has undermined the efficiency of China's drug monitoring and supervision, endangered public life and health and has had a very negative social impact,'' Xinhua quoted the Supreme People's Court as saying.
Zheng was sentenced to death May 29 for taking the bribes from pharmaceutical firms in return for approving new drugs.
Zheng's appeal for leniency was rejected in June, and the execution took place after the Supreme People's Court's approval, Xinhua said. Under rules put in place at the beginning of this year, executions require the top court's endorsement.
A spokeswoman for the State Food and Drug Administration said the case ''brought shame'' to the quality control watchdog.
The case ''revealed several problems and I think we need to reflect on what lessons we can draw,'' Yan Jiangying said at a press conference on the same day.
The discovery of hazardous chemicals in Chinese products ranging from toothpaste to pet food has led some countries and regions to halt imports or warn its public about goods made in China.
One recent development includes an announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it will impose an import control on selected farm-raised seafood from China.
It said it will detain those products at the border until the shipments are proven to be free of residues from drugs that are not approved in the United States.
Lin Wei, a senior official of the country's agency in charge of export products, defended the quality of its exports saying that recent problems are only exceptions, often involving unlicensed or illegal companies.
''Investigations have shown these are only individual cases,'' Lin, a deputy director general at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, said at the same press conference.
''We have taken tough measures'' against unlicensed companies which have been the source of such problems, he said.
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