The first-ever head of China’s food and drug oversight agency, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed earlier this month after having taken numerous bribes from pharmaceutical companies. Ironically, the agency was formed in the late 1990’s after Zheng had successfully lobbied for its creation to counter the distribution of unsafe drugs.
Obviously, this guy screwed up. However, it’s well-known that such corruption is widespread in the Chinese government. Why did such a prominent official receive the harshest of penalties? Could this be a warning to other officials of an impending crackdown? Or, was this a textbook example of a Communist government responding the only way it knows how (by killing in order to save face and hoping everyone doesn’t focus on the larger problem)? Or, was this done merely as an economic ploy in light of all of the recent news regarding unsafe Chinese products? We can all speculate, but one thing is certain: government “protection” is far from absolute and is often nothing more than a false sense of security.