Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Former Head of China's State Food and Drug Administration Executed

Truly shocking news from China:

The former head of China's State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, has been executed for corruption, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.

He was convicted of taking 6.5m yuan ($850,000; £425,400) in bribes and of dereliction of duty at a trial in May.

The bribes were linked to sub-standard medicines, blamed for several deaths.

China has been criticised over a number of recent cases involving tainted goods, and correspondents say Zheng had become a symbol of the crisis.

While I am utterly opposed to his actions (assuming that he was actually guilty), the death penalty is never justified. The severity of the punishment goes way beyond the severity of the crime. If China is so concerned about how it is viewed by the world in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, perhaps it could do something about its disgraceful human rights record.