Moving to address mounting concerns about the safety of its exports, China announced Tuesday that it had executed the former head of its food and drug safety agency for accepting bribes in exchange for approving substandard medicines.
At a news conference, State Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Yan Jianyang said officials like Zheng Xiaoyu — who was sentenced to death in May after he was found guilty of accepting cash and gifts worth more than $800,000 — had brought “shame” to the agency and caused serious problems.
There are arguments here about the death penalty, as well as whether or not bribery should result in a death sentence. (The substandard medicines Zheng approved caused deaths, if I’m not mistaken, but I understand the charges to be bribery rather than something related to those deaths.) But Zheng was sentenced in May. Roughly two months from conviction to execution. I have a hard time believing that China is capable of quality appeals in two months.
I’m not confident China is capable – or interested – in quality appeals, which is ultimately the larger issue. Commenting on reforms to food safety standards, this:
The reforms show that “the Chinese government is a responsible government and has placed a great deal of importance on the quality and safety of its exports,” said Lin Wei, the deputy director general of the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau.
The Chinese government is not responsible. It is a dictatorship and it behaves like all dictatorships. Forgive me if I fail to admire it for its economic “miracle” and foray into what can not even loosely be defined as capitalism.