China will severely punish those who engage in the illegal making, buying and selling, transporting or storing of "dushuqiang", an arsenic-based rat poison, and other prohibited highly toxic chemicals.
According to a regulation issued by the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate effective Oct. 1, these people will face punishment ranging from three years in jail to the death penalty if the consequences are serious.
The regulation stipulated that making more than 20 kilograms of the highly toxic powder-like rat poison with more than 500 grams of raw powder or liquid will be considered very serious, and the people held responsibility could be sentenced to more than 10 years or life imprisonment or even death.
It will also be considered very serious if the use of the poison results in the deaths of more than three people or their serious wounding.
Scientific research found that a mere five milligrams of "dushuqiang" is enough to kill a human being, and the environmental pollution caused by the rat poison is long lasting.
For instance, the needles or cones of a fir tree grown in "dushuqiang"-polluted soil were so poisonous they could kill a rabbit that ate them even if the tree was planted four years before.
In September last year, a farmer in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, intentionally put some "dushuqiang" into the flour and edible oil for making snacks, which poisoned 395 people, causing 42 deaths.
(Xinhua News Agency October 2, 2003)