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Ex-drug chief's execution justified, but capital punishment should be limited
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21:00, July 12, 2007

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China''s legal experts and the public consider the execution of former drug chief Zheng Xiaoyu to be fully deserved given his shocking dereliction of duty, but many are also warning that China needs to be cautious in handing out death penalties.

Cui Min, a professor at the Chinese People''s University of Public Security, said the consequences of Zheng''s dereliction of duty were extremely serious, and the court''s ruling had sound legal justification.

Zheng, 63, former director of China''s State Food and Drug Administration, was executed on Tuesday morning for taking 6.49 million yuan (850,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes and dereliction of duty.

Whether Zheng''s death sentence was too harsh is being heatedly debated.

"Given that bribery alone is punishable by death under Chinese law, Zheng deserved the death sentence," said Cui.
Moreover, Zheng''s actions put health and life in danger, and shook trust in the government''s competence.

Six types of medicine approved by the administration during his tenure were fake, one of which -- an antibiotic injection -- caused the deaths of at least six people and severe reactions in more than 80 others.

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