People involved in the illegal production, trade, transportation and storage of toxic chemicals will face the prospect of severe punishment, including the death penalty, from October 1.
This is the result of a judicial interpretation on such cases, jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The interpretation, which takes effect from October 1, aims at cracking down on such criminal cases as using poisons to kill people.
Such cases have been widely reported across the nation, including a snack bar owner who was arrested in Nanjing in East China's Jiangsu Province after contaminating the food of his business rival with lethal rat poison, killing 38 people and leaving hundreds seriously ill.
According to the interpretation, criminals who are charged with producing, trading, transporting and storing raw materials of toxic chemicals amounting to more than 500 grams, or insecticides of more than 20 kilograms will be sentenced to more than 10 years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or even death penalties depending on the different cases.
The same penalty applies in such cases leading to the severe injuring of more than three people or deaths or a serious loss of property worth more than 200,000 yuan (US$24,400)
Three to 10 years of imprisonment will be handed out to those who produce, trade, transport and store raw materials of toxic chemicals amounting to more than 50 grams or insecticides amounting to more than two kilograms and if the crimes they commit lead to serious injury or even death or more than 100,000 yuan (US$12,200) of losses, the interpretation said.
Governmental officials investigating and dealing with such cases will also be subjected to penalties in accordance with the law if they abuse their power or neglect their duties, according to the interpretation.
(China Daily September 8, 2003)