China executed a former director of its food and drug agency Tuesday for approving fake medicine in exchange for cash, while officials announced steps to safeguard food at next summer’s Olympic Games.
Xinhua news agency reported the execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, who was sentenced to death in May for accepting cash and gifts worth more than $830,000 from pharmaceutical companies. Xinhua said his appeal was rejected because of the immense damage he had caused to public health and safety.
During his time as chief, the administration approved many medicines that did not meet standards, including six fake drugs. One antibiotic allegedly caused the deaths of at least 10 people.
Zheng was the highest level official to be executed in seven years.
The speed with which his appeal was rejected and the death sentence was carried out suggests the authorities wished to make an example of Zheng, as a warning to other would-be bribe-takers. Corruption is rampant in rising China.
But China Confidential sources say Zheng was also executed to silence him. He knew too much about too many sons and daughters of high-ranking Communist Party officials.
The dirty little secret about China’s state sponsored capitalism is that the biggest gains and opportunities are reserved for those with the strongest party–and military–ties.
In addition to Zheng, five other drug supervision officials have also received sentences for corruption ranging from 13 years to life in prison.The measures include ensuring athletes’ food is free of substances that could trigger a positive result in tests for banned performance-enhancing drugs. Many of China’s recent food woes have been tied to the purity of ingredients, flavoring, artificial colors and other additives.
China’s food and drug administration spokeswoman, Yan Jiangying, told reporters on Tuesday that the country’s food and drug safety was “unsatisfactory” and the country was facing a tough situation in supervising standards.
“As a developing country, China’s food and drug supervision work began late and its foundations are weak,” she said. “Therefore, the food and drug safety situation is not something we can be optimistic about.”
The agency says the Islamist nation is on track to cross the “technological threshold” enabling it to independently manufacture nuclear weapons within six months to a year and attain nuclear capability as early as mid-2009.
Other Israeli intelligence agencies reportedly take a somewhat more pessimistic view. The famed foreign intelligence service, known as the Mossad, for example, reportedly believes Iran could be less than a year away from both crossing the nuclear threshold and producing an atomic bomb.
Some Israeli analysts believe Iran may already be in possession of one or more radioactive “dirty bombs.”
They call it the nuclear option, but it has nothing to do with Iran or nuclear power. Instead, the term refers to a last-ditch, desperate move to save the Republican Party from utter defeat and disintegration.
China Confidential has learned that a small but growing number of Republican lawmakers and party insiders are beginning to think the unthinkable–namely, the possibility of supporting the impeachment of both President Bush and Vice President Cheney if the President persists in prolonging the Iraq war beyond the time necessary for an orderly pullout.
Republicans are turning against the war and away from Bush. It would probably take another mega-terrorist attack on the United States–or a successful US attack on Iran’s nuclear and missile facilities–to rally the party and the nation behind the deeply unpopular President.
There is a palpable sense in Washington that a lot of dirt about the war–from the runup and rationale for the invasion to the funneling of funds to post-Saddam factions and secret dealings with Iraqi insurgents–is about to surface.
Most Democrats in Congress still oppose impeachment; but should they change their minds as a result of a new scandal, or pressure from their constituents, they may find a surprising number of Republicans ready to join the bandwagon.
Post Script: The rumor in Paris and Beijing, as China Confidential has reported in ths past, is that sooner or later a prominent Republican party elder will confront Bush and Cheney in order to engineer a so-called silent coup, or Nixon/Ford-style, solution to the US political crisis–i.e. the resignation and replacement of Cheney followed by the resignation of Bush.