Crime and Punishment in Beijing

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Grim and stern as an old friend would say. The People’s Daily online just carried a story announcing that Zheng Xiaoyu, former director of China’s State Food and Drug Administration (see here for story on his crimes) ), was executed this morning. I thought Zheng’s appeal of the death sentence handed down on May 29th was still pending but the story also noted that it had been rejected on June 22nd. I guess that it still seemed likely he would receive some sort of last minute reprieve, given how senior he was and the fact that his deputy was just given a suspended death sentence, which usually means effective life imprisonment. I don’t know why I was even a little surprised, though. As we observed earlier, Zheng’s timing was awful if he was hoping for a pardon. With the current international hullabaloo about safety regulation in China there was no way he was going to be let off the hook. Will his execution make a difference? Hard to say. Certainly it’s got to have some impact in the short term, but memories fade and the allure of stacks of those crisp, roseblush 100 renminbi bills is strong.