Former drug watchdog head to go on trial

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-09 09:19

Zheng Xiaoyu, the former chief of the State Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who was accused of taking bribes and stripped of power in 2005, will face an initial court hearing on Tuesday.

Zheng Xiaoyu
The No 1 Intermediate People's Court in Beijing will try Zheng alongside his former secretary Cao Wenzhuang on charges that they conspired to take bribes, Gao Zicheng, Cao's lawyer, told China Daily yesterday.

Gao said that Zheng stands accused of bribe taking and severe dereliction of duty.

An investigation conducted last month by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection accused Zheng of taking bribes totaling more than 5 million yuan (about $650,000).

In the same investigation, Cao was accused of taking bribes totaling 2 million yuan.

Sources with the court said the trial of Zheng and Cao will be conducted in camera and that a verdict is unlikely to be reached before June.

China Business News said that 31 people are alleged to be involved in the corruption scandal, with several of them holding senior positions within the medical industry.

Zheng's wife Liu Naixue and son Zheng Hairong, plus a number of drug companies were also investigated.

One firm that was named was the Kongliyuan Group from South China's Hainan Province, which is alleged to have bribed Zheng in return for FDA approvals on 277 medicines, most of which were antibiotics that yield high profits.

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The head of the company has been detained pending further investigation.

Zheng, 63, was removed from his post in June 2005. In December 2006, he was accused of taking bribes during his eight years as head of the top drug watchdog.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's foremost disciplinary department, began investigating the case in December.

Cao Wenzhuang, the former director of the administration's drug registration department, also came under investigation last year.

In November, Hao Heping, the former director of the administration's medical equipment department, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for accepting bribes.

Both Hao and Cao had previously worked as Zheng's secretary and held power over approving new medicines or medical equipment.

Amid a slew of graft cases, the administration has made efforts to clean its own house with the introduction this year of a series of anti-corruption measures and regulations.

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