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China Cracks Down on Food Safety Violations

            After a surge of food-related scandals surfaced in China recently, the country's highest court ordered judges across the nation to impose harsher sentences in food-related cases, including the death penalty. The Supreme People's Court announced that in cases where people die from food safety violations, convicted suspects should be given the death sentence. In cases where the food was not lethal, suspects will receive longer prison terms and larger fines. Furthermore, government officials who are found protecting food safety violators or accepting bribes from them will also be handed harsher punishments (Jiang).
             Pei Xianding, Judge of Supreme People's Court said, "Under the new Criminal Law, anyone involved in food safety crimes will face at least term imprisonment. The new amendment also lifts the cap for fines. These people need to understand such illegitimate deals could cost them their entire fortune." Xianding also commented, "The strictest punishment used to be seven-years in prison. Now it's ten" (China Digital Times). .
             In a notice on Friday, the Supreme People's Court urged harsher penalties for both corrupt manufacturers and food inspectors. "Those food safety crimes leading to fatalities or any other serious aftermath should be sentenced to death in accordance with the law," the notice said (China Digital Times). .
             "The overall food safety situation is stable and improving, but incidents that still occur regularly have seriously endangered people's lives and caused strong social reactions. Our task to maintain food safety remains challenging," said Wang Shengjun, the country's top judge (Jiang). .
             Before this surge in cases, government had cracked down on food safety violations, backed by a state media campaign. However, recently cases were revealed using milk laced with melamine, pigs fed with performance enhancing drugs to watermelons juiced up with growth-stimulating chemicals.

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