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Former head of China's drug watchdog executed in Beijing
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12:13, July 10, 2007

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Zheng Xiaoyu, former director of China''s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), was executed on Tuesday morning with the approval of the Supreme People''s Court.

Zheng was the country''s fourth senior official of his rank to be sentenced to death in recent years, following former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People''s Congress Cheng Kejie and two former provincial deputy governors Hu Changqing and Wang Huaizhong. Cheng and Hu were sentenced in 2000 and Wang was sentenced in 2004.

Zheng, 63, was sentenced to death on May 29 by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People''s Court after being found guilty of taking 6.49 million yuan (850,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes and dereliction of duty.

Zheng appealed for leniency in a second hearing on June 12, arguing the penalty was "too severe" and asking the court to reconsider the sentence. He also gave evidence that implicated other officials in the case.

The Higher People''s Court of Beijing rejected Zheng''s appeal on June 22 and upheld the death sentence.

"The evidence provided by Zheng was obtained by the prosecution team before his confession," said the court, which then asked for a review and the approval of the Supreme People''s Court (SPC).

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