China has sentenced a high ranking official to death on charges of corruption, reports the New York Times. Cao Wenzhuang is accused of accepting over $300,000 in bribes from pharmacutical companies in exchange for approving bogus drugs. Mr.Cao is the second Chinese offical to be sentenced to death for corruption in less than 2 months.
Despite the fact that China has gained interenational attention for exporting dangerous products, this move is thought to be aimed at Chinese consumers. From the New York Times:
But Chinese consumers are believed to be the primary victims of fake and substandard food and drugs, and the nation’s top regulators have been blamed with putting the public at risk by swapping cars, gifts and cash for granting licenses for drugs that in some cases have turned out to be deadly.
“This is a harsh but probably necessary strategy to re-establish control over an under-regulated sector,” said David Zweig, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Among Mr. Cao’s shady acts in his position with the agency—approving 14,000 drugs in 3 months with a staff of 12.
In other news, China has admitted that 1 in 5 of its products is substandard or tainted.
China reveals deep consumer product quality problems [International Herald Tribune]
China Sentences Official to Death for Corruption [New York Times]