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China puts former drug watchdog chief to death

July 10, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

BEIJING — China's former drug and food safety watchdog chief was executed today after being found guilty of corruption and dereliction of duty amid a series of food and drug safety scandals, the New China News Agency said.

The Supreme People's Court approved the death sentence for Zheng Xiaoyu, 62, who was convicted of taking bribes worth about $850,000 from eight companies.

Zheng, head of the State Food and Drug Administration from 1998 to 2005, was sentenced May 29 and his appeal was heard last month.

The unusually harsh sentence reflected the pressure on Beijing from domestic and international alarm about corruption and consumer safety after a series of breaches and deaths involving toxins in food, medicines and other products.

China pledged to improve food and drug safety procedures.

"As a developing country, China's current food and drug safety situation is not very satisfactory because supervision of food and drug safety started late, its foundation is weak, so the supervision of food and drug safety is not easy," the State Food and Drug Administration said today.

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