FDA director to be put to death

A former director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was sentenced to death today, for taking bribes to approve untested medicines. Um, a former director of China’s FDA, that is.

The developments are among the most dramatic steps Beijing has publicly taken to address domestic and international alarm over shoddy and unsafe Chinese goods — from pet-food ingredients and toothpaste mixed with industrial chemicals to tainted antibiotics.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court convicted Zheng Xiaoyu for taking bribes in cash and gifts worth more than $832,000 when he was director of the State Food and Drug Administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The court then issued the death penalty, the report said.

[…] In one instance, an antibiotic approved by Zheng’s agency killed at least 10 patients last year before it was taken off the market.

On the bright side, China’s burgeoning organ transplant industry just gained another healthy donor.


  1. 1


    Ah yes. Makes you rethink public accountability, doesn’t it? Gives a whole new meaning to “Heck of a job, Brownie!” Off with his head instead.

    Meantime, the ag minister in Japan hanged himself rather than testify in a corruption probe.

  2. 3

    Gordon spews:

    This should be even more alarming to American officials. It just shows you how little life is valued in China. I would suggest this lack of respect for life is ultimately the cause of many of the problems (environmental, regulatory, human rights, etc.) in China.

    They got caught red handed and so they want to make a good show of it. But I don’t believe it for a second. Even if they kill this person that doesn’t mean that the system of corruption has been addressed.

    It is time to step up and limit our trade dramatically with China. Until these corrosive policies are addressesd. Human rights abuses are not a joke. Also the US should boycott the upcoming Olympics. Plain and simple.

  3. 4

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    I predicted just this sort of reponse. . if there was corruption that adversely effected the flow of foreign capital.

  4. 5

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    Yes, this is how they roll in the Middle Kingdom.

    This is not in any way, shape or form a healthy method of governing.

    I am not talking about how killing people is wrong, or the absence of rule of law, or a disregard for human life, or any of that.

    This is a method of governance in China that is older than Confucius. It sucks, and I’ll explain why.

    A few people will be caught. A big show will be made of punishing them really well. sha ji qing hou they say. “Kill a chicken and scare a monkey.”

    More dismissively, people say san fen zhong re du, literally “Three minutes hot”. Everyone knows when a show like this is going on that a few people will be put up to make an example, then a month later, life returns to its bad old self, and the usual gladhanding and corruption keeps on going. Nothing changes because these purges are so sporadic that once one is done, you know that nobody will speak of it again for months or years.

    If you go to a Chinese city, you’ll see this most visibly in traffic enforcement. Every few months, the police start handing out tickets like candy. For a week, people slow down, pay attention, and actually follow the laws.

    Once the week of crackdown is over, Chinese traffic resumes the barely controlled chaos that everyone is used to. Red lights are advisories. Lanes are purely decorative. Drive on the right hand side of the road unless it’s, like, really full, in which case, you should use the left hand side, or the sidewalk, or whatever is handy.

    Everything works like this from top to bottom. People shrug and ignore it. China has been run badly for centuries, and will probably continue to be run badly for at least 20 or 30 more years.

  5. 6

    Puddybud Who Left the Reservation spews:

    Stupidman@2: Yes, since Richard Armitage, lover of liberal causes needs to be prosecuted since he was the first to tell everyone!

    Waaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa

  6. 8

    harry poon spews:

    re 7: Right. And now they are executing political officials for taking bribes and endangering the public!

    What a bunch of Whackos!

  7. 10

    proud leftist spews:

    I have not treated my liver with much respect over the course of my years. Nonetheless, I’d rather die than accept a transplanted liver from a Republican. Who knows what comes first–Republican liver, Republican mind? I’m not willing to take that chance.

  8. 11

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Puffybutt I’ll prosecute Richard if we also get to put that terrorist-loving DICKLESS Cheney in the jail cell next door. You like the terrorists don’t you Puffy. Since you married a Muslim and all.

  9. 12

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    Pud @ 7:

    Dumb comment.

    First, China has a one-child policy. It’s pretty easy to argue against it. The fact is, if you have a second child, the State uses its power to sit on you. If you are in the upper echelons of society, you pay your fines and have as many children as you want. If you’re scraping by on a shit factory job or subsistence farming, those fines are around a year’s wages. It’s a pretty big stick.

    Second, rural Chinese society does not value women very much. Men carry on the family name. Men work in the fields. Men do the heavy lifting. Women pop out babies, keep house, and provide a burden to the family as they are married off to join someone else’s household and contribute to the welfare of their future husband’s parents after having been raised and fed through their childhood.

    In the cities, life is different. Women can be educated, take proper jobs, and sometimes even send money back home. As such, female infanticide is largely a rural issue, not an urban one.

    Given these premises, and given you only get one child, what do you do?

    In the mean time, keep sending those notices to President Hu stating the One Child Policy is evil and ungodly.

    The address is
    President Hu Jintao
    Beijing 100000

    Keep those cards and letters coming!

  10. 13

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    JSA@various The Chinese never seem to do things in a small way. There have been periods of extremely repressive government as well. If you stepped out of line in some dynasties, they not only killed you, but your entire family out to fifth cousins, then dug up your ancestors back five generations. . .you and your family pretty basically were made to have never existed. The “Communist” Dynasgty seems pretty slack by contrast. . .
    When we try to ‘fit’ China into any of our ‘lenses’ or ‘frames’, we generally fail to get the whole picture. The panorama seems to be just too broad. . . .
    I wouldn”t say we cannot influence the Chinese government, but I am reminded of Kafka’s fable: The Great Wall of China.

  11. 14


    Stefan over at unSP had to delete my comments, and ban me for telling the truth once again. Since I am banned for telling the truth, I couldn’t post the following:

    Since our state government is so corrupt, I am assuming they will all be arrested any time right Stefan? With the F.B.I. and the Justice Department basically acting as wings of the Republicon Party, I am sure indictments are right around the corner. They are clearly corrupt right? Abramoff has visited the Governor’s Mansion at least 200 times right? Jeff Gannon Guckert Gay Hooker was at her last press conference right? Monica Goodling was training Christine’s staff how to hire political operatives in violation of the Hatch Act without getting caught right? Karl Rove’s chief of staff can help her get things straightened out once she does her time too, along with Scooter, Cheney’s chief of staff! Don’t overlook all that talent Chris.

    Stefan, pleas write an article of all the staff in the White House that will not be doing time eventually. There has to be someone there clean right? My god, half their staff is wearing orange, and the investigations have not even got going yet. And you want to complain about Christine? It’s like complaining about a litterer, while someone is burning down your house in the background.

    Wake up and smell the destruction of our democracy Stefan.”

    So Stefan, what are you so afraid of? The truth?

    Every time you peep about the problems here Stefan, I stomp on your comments with the reality. The total corruption from the top to the bottom of the sleazebag liars that used to be the Republicon Party. I feel sorry for anyone calling themselves cons these days. You surely need therapy. Better yet go to Iraq, and die so Bush can be a war president, like he always bragged about!

    I just can’t wait till I see Stefan in public, and I trash him for deleting my comments. It won’t be pretty. I will ask him, in front of his peers, why he has to delete comments from his blog, that are entirely true, and related to the topic.

    All the Republicon blogs delete comments from the reality based community. They have to in order to keep their fantasy world alive!

  12. 15

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Oy. Boycott the Olympics? Puh-leeze. Unhealthy governance? What-fucking-ever. You dipstick forget one thing about China. Okay, it’s more than one thing, it’s over a billion things. YOU try and govern a nation of a billion-plus. The only way things will ever get better in China is when the people, all billion-plus of them, decide to do so. Boycotting the Olympics in 2008 will have as much effect as when we boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow, i.e. zip, zilch, zero. Limiting trade with China is perhaps not such a bad idea, but let’s see how well that goes over with the American public the next time they buy underwear at Wal-Mart.

    And as for the one-child policy, let me remind you of something: OVER ONE BILLION PEOPLE. In a country (if I remember correctly from school) a little smaller than the continental US. You do the math.

    Change in China will only come from within, and I think it’ll come sooner than you might expect. You want to go change it yourself? Good luck, and enjoy the pistol in the ear.

  13. 17

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    TFF @ 13:

    What you’re saying is basically correct. I don’t know if strict or slack are words I’d use. Some things are punished very severely, some things are ignored. Collective punishment has left the legal system but is still practiced informally. There is a lot of pressure even in the more Westernized bits of China (i.e. Taiwan or HK) not to step out of line because bad actions will reflect on your family. I could explain Confucianism, filial piety, and how this affects social change, but I have to get to work.

    BroadwayJoe @ 15:

    I think you were talking to me en passant. Yes, China is big. It’s really, really big. It’s, like, unbelievably ginormously humongous. So, like, you can never get it all.

    There is no knowledge of China, only degrees of ignorance. I spent 7 years living in the Middle Kingdom, am frequently mistaken for a native speaker on the phone, and can read and write OK as well. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’ll claim to a lower-than-average degree of ignorance.

    The primary argument for China’s family planning policy is exactly what you say. There are too many people. However, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea support more people per square mile of arable land than China does, and do so without a hardcore family planning policy.

    Change in China will only come from within, and I think it’ll come sooner than you might expect. You want to go change it yourself? Good luck, and enjoy the pistol in the ear.

    When I wrote about sending letters to Zhongnanhai I was being sarcastic. I’ll have to work on my on-line delivery. Perhaps italics will help.

    Change in any society, China or otherwise, only comes from within. Hu Jintao and the other members of the collective leadership don’t have to listen to you, me, or Puddy. They do have to listen to their own citizens, after a fashion.

    Before you get a bullet in the head, you’ll get a lot of passive-aggressive remarks about China being a very old country, a very complex culture, and that foreigners have no way to understand what is going on. Shortly thereafter, people will ignore you.