Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Holy Crap! China Doesn't Mess Around

The International Herald Tribune today reports that,
The former head of China's top food and drug safety agency was sentenced to death Tuesday after pleading guilty to corruption and accepting bribes, the state-controlled news media reported.

Zheng Xiaoyu, who served as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from its founding in 1998 until mid-2005, was detained in February as part of a government investigation into corruption at the agency.

The unusually harsh sentence for the 62-year-old former commissioner came at a time of heightened concern about the quality and safety of China's food and drug system, following a series of scandals here involving tainted food and counterfeit drugs.

This isn't just a bureaucrat accepting C-notes for favours. According to the article Chinese exports have been responsible for the following deaths and sicknesses:
  • pet food recall in North America
  • diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used to make antifreeze, ended up in cough syrup and toothpaste in Latin America
  • 100 Panamanians dying as a result of injesting cough medicine laced with diethylene glycol
  • Chinese-made toothpaste tainted with diethylene glycol was pulled off store shelves in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
  • Last year 11 people died in China after being treated with an injection tainted by a fake chemical
  • 6 Chinese died and 80 fell ill after taking an antibiotic that was produced with what regulators later said was a "substandard disinfectant"

Zheng is being held ultimately responsible. And they say shit only rolls downhill. Scary.

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