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China Cracks Down Sales of Powerful Rat Poison

Chinese authorities have confiscated 105 tons of "Dushuqiang", a highly toxic rat poison and cracked down the nationwide sales network of the killer poison.


Three big sales centers of "Dushuqiang" were shut down in a nationwide drive to stem illegal production and sales of the poison, said Fan Xiaojian, vice-minister of agriculture at Thursday's meeting on rat poison control.


About 95 percent of the total sales of "Dushuqiang" in China were made through the centers at Changge county in central Henan province, Lixin county in east China's Anhui province and Xiantao county in central Hubei province, said the official.


"Dushuqiang", which first appeared in 1990, is much more toxic than arsenic or potassium cyanide. Just five milligrams is enough to kill a person.


However, it was commonly used in rural areas and had been selling well in the countryside. It is cheap and easy to make despite the government's repeated ban on its production, sale and use.


A government study showed that the powerful rat poison was blamed for more than 90 percent of food poisoning cases around China in the first five months of this year.


The killer poison is also a common method of suicide for a few rural women in the country.


The Chinese government launched in July a nationwide drive against the illegal production, transportation, sales and use of the poison.


Sixteen factories turning out "Dushuqiang" and other banned rat poisons without business permits have been closed, over 23,000 sales outlets been shut down in the drive and 2,600 criminal suspects involved caught.


Fan, head of the national work group on rat poison control, urged the establishment of a nationwide sales network of legal rat poisons to stem the spread of "Dushuqiang".


(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2003)

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