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China to Begin Executing Those Found Guilty of Food Safety Violations

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China announced it would begin imposing the death penalty for those found guilty of food safety crimes -- but will only mete out the ultimate punishment to those who "deserve it," the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A government statement said, "Generally, officials who are involved in food safety crimes should not be given a reprieve or be exempt from criminal punishment. Those deserving death penalties should be resolutely sentenced to death."

China's not kidding around when they talk about such things.

If you recall, in 2007, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court carried out the execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of China’s State Food and Drug Administration.

He was sentenced to death for taking $832,000 in bribes to approve drugs that led to at least 10 deaths.

At the time, the Globe and Mail of Canada quoted Chinese legal expert Liu Renwen as saying that China was executing about 8,000 people each year.

But, as eager as China may be for the world to know they’re serious about safety, they’d like you to know that they're serious humanitarians, too.

A Xinhua report from March 2005, said that Chinese courts have meted out death sentences with a gentle hand by allowing the execution of a condemned person to be delayed for one day, affording him the chance to see his family one last time and bid them farewell.

And, the reforms didn’t end there: China has devised a “more humane” way of carrying out the death sentences themselves:

Mobile execution vans.

Manufactured by the Jinguan Group, the 500,000 yuan ($66,000) rolling execution chambers allow convicts to be executed by lethal injection (rather than the traditional death by firing squad) “immediately after sentence is passed.”

The switch from bullets to syringes is a sign that China “promotes human rights now,” USA Today quoted Kang Zhongwen, the Jinguan employee who designed the van, as saying.

Wonder what the Chinese would've done to Jack DeCoster, whose Iowa chicken operations were the cause of last month's nationwide egg recall. Something tells me he would have been treated to a nice little van ride...
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