City plans death penalty to ensure food safety

Updated: 2011-06-16 16:33
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CHONGQING - A new trial provision issued by the Higher People's Court of Southwest China's Chongqing municipality requires more severe punishment, including the death penalty, be adopted to decrease the likelihood of food and drug safety scandals.

The provision of ten items provides concrete advice in the trials of food and drug safety crimes.

According to the provision, primary culprits, recidivists and criminals who cause serious health hazards or get a huge amount of illegal profit must be severely punished.

Violators whose criminal acts have caused serious consequences or fatalities may face a life sentence or even the death penalty, according to the provision.

Criminals may face capital punishment for committing food safety-related crimes that result in death or other severe consequences, according to China's Criminal Law.

The provision also increased the extent of property penalties and sets no limit on confiscated properties and fines.

"It would be more efficient to discourage greedy vendors' and producers' crime motives by means of severe penalties," said Yuan Shengqiang, a chief judge with the Chongqing Municipal Higher People's Court.

Food safety has become a major public concern since a nationwide tainted milk powder scandal was exposed in August 2008.

The top legislature passed the Food Safety Law in 2009, which was soon followed by a nationwide food safety inspection.

Over the past six months, two criminals involved in a serious food safety scandal in Chongqing were severely punished for adding an illegal additive to pig blood, a popular food in Chongqing's local cuisine.

Zheng Liqiao was sentenced to five years imprisonment coupled with a confiscated fine of 250,000 yuan ($38,552). Luo Liuqing was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 180,000 yuan.