Well, that headline may be a teeny bit of an oversimplification. The man didn’t exactly kill any dogs himself (that we know of), but the pattern of corruption he helped to set killed a lot of pets in the United States and elsewhere, and killed some people in Central America.
We’re talking about Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of China’s equivalent of our Food and Drug Administration. The Chinese government says that over a period of years, he took about $850,000 worth of bribes, to bring harmful drugs and additives to market. For doing that, he’s been sentenced to death.
Let’s not flatter ourselves to think international notice is taken of anything that’s written here, but we’ve been on a little bit of a tear about this lately because the practices have just been so awful: Pets poisoned with melamine, a kind of junk mineral Chinese criminals added to food to boost its apparent nutrition levels, along with their profits. And some Panamanians killed by an anti-freeze ingredient slipped into cold medicine, and now Mr. Cool toothpaste. It has a nice sweet taste- but it may be the last thing you’ll ever taste.
As we said on May 19th, in reference to that very un-cool toothpaste, “The Chinese government badly needs to get the outlaws of business in that country under control.” The death sentence for Zheng is apparently its effort to show that China’s rulers are taking this seriously, will put an end to the export of poisoned food and drug products, and protect people around the world, along with its immense export business.
Will they actually execute the former food and drug regulator? The New York Times tells us today that China has a history of commuting death sentences, when the people facing them have been high-ranking officials.