Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the country's drug watchdog who was
sentenced to death last month on corruption charges, has launched an appeal,
sources close to the case said.
Zheng, 63, the former director of the State Food and Drug Administration
(SFDA), last week asked the Beijing High People's Court to reconsider his
sentence as the "penalty was too severe", according to sources with the Beijing
No 1 Intermediate People's Court.
Zheng wrote in his appeal that he had "confessed his crimes" and "cooperated
with the investigating prosecutors", which could merit a lighter sentence under
Zheng also sought to regain the legal part of his income for his family. The
first verdict handed down by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate Court, issued on May
29, called for the confiscation of all of Zheng's personal property.
In that verdict, Zheng received the death penalty on the graft charges
totaling 6.49 million yuan ($850,000), and seven years in prison for dereliction
Zheng was the first official of his rank to be sentenced to death since 2000.
The last two figures of Zheng's rank executed for taking bribes, Hu
Changqing, vice-governor of the eastern Jiangxi Province, and Cheng Kejie, a
vice-head of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, both received
more bribes than Zheng did.
Though by law a ruling on an appeal must be made within a month's time, some
lawyers have asked whether Zheng might receive leniency.
"The death sentence was a reflection of the central government's strong
determination to weed out corruption, especially in areas concerning public
safety," said a lawyer surnamed Gao.
The intermediate court has previously described the sentence as
"appropriate", given the "huge bribes involved and the great damage inflicted on
the country and the public by Zheng's dereliction of duty".
After serving as the top drug authority from 1998 until 2005, Zheng was
placed under investigation by the Communist Party of China's Central Commission
for Discipline Inspection in December 2006 and was expelled from the Party in
As SFDA director, Zheng oversaw the implementation of the Good Manufacturing
Practice (GMP), which required companies to obtain a GMP certificate before
allowed to register new medicines.
However, the credibility of the system was seriously undermined when six
types of medicine approved by the administration during Zheng's tenure proved to
be fake. And some pharmaceutical firms used false documents to apply for
approvals, the court heard.
(China Daily 06/13/2007 page3)