7 more people penalized in fabricated story

Updated: 2007-07-20 19:12

At least seven more people have been fired or reprimanded over an allegedly fake television report about street vendors selling buns stuffed with chemically treated cardboard, state media reported Friday.

Reportedly shot with a hidden camera, the story briefly came to symbolize China's food safety woes that have alarmed people at home and hammered its reputation as a food and drug exporter.

Footage appeared to show a makeshift kitchen where people made fluffy buns stuffed a little bit of fatty pork and cardboard that had been softened in a bath of caustic soda.

The report prompted Beijing's health authorities to carry out a spot check of more than two dozen vendors selling the pork buns _ a common breakfast in China. None were found to be using cardboard.

The story was first broadcast on Beijing Television's Life Channel on July 8 and then shown again on China Central Television last week. It created a buzz on the Internet, with netizens flooding chatrooms with comments expressing shock and disgust. On the YouTube Web site, the video had been viewed more than 7,000 times by Friday.

The reporter who allegedly made the report, Zi Beijia, has already been detained by police and Beijing Television issued an apology late Wednesday saying the report was not true.

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