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Drug Official's Death Sentence Upheld
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The Higher People's Court of Beijing today rejected a former senior drug official's appeal and upheld his death sentence and two-year reprieve, the Beijing Evening News reported today.

Cao Wenzhuang, the former director of the Drug Registration Department under China's top drug approving authority, was found guilty of taking 2.34 million yuan (US$309,524) in bribes from pharmaceutical companies for drug registrations from 2003 to 2005.

He was also convicted of improperly lowering criteria for drugs in clinical trials to increase the chances of medicines reaching the market.

Cao on July 8 handed in his appeal petition for leniency, which stated that he was receiving unfair treatment while in custody and that he never sought illegal gains.

However, the court upheld the sentence at today's final trial. If he behaves well the next two years in jail, his death sentence will be commuted to life in prison.

Cao is the third senior official with the State Food and Drug Administration to stand trial, following former head Zheng Xiaoyu and former director of the medical devices department Hao Heping.

Zheng, Cao's former boss, was executed on July 10 after being found guilty of taking 6.49 million yuan in bribes and dereliction of duty.

Hao, also one of Zheng's former secretaries, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on corruption charges in November.

(Shanghai Daily August 28, 2007)

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