What to make of the execution this month of Chinese food and drug czar Zheng Xiaoyu (ÈÉëÁ≠±Ëê∏)? Debate has raged, and it could be years before the full ramifications, however significant, come clear. Cynics have read Zheng’s death as the exorcistic end of a show trial for the world’s consumers. Others chalk it up to old-fashioned Chinese-style retribution – a killing necessary to placate the people(‰∏çÊùÄ‰∏çË∂≥‰ª•Âπ≥Ê∞ëÊÑ§), as the saying goes. The Party, for its part, tried to use Zheng’s death to send a chilling warning. to other wanton cadres. And in a purged Internet post purporting to be Zheng’s “last words”, translated by Danwei, a voice claiming to be Zheng himself suggests, albeit half-heartedly, that this time Party authorities may really mean it.
In its latest issue, Caijing magazine ventures beyond the hype, examining how the government might streamline consumer safety regulation in the wake of Zheng’s death. Ace reporter Luo Changping (ÁΩóÊòåÂπ≥) opens, most revealingly of all perhaps, by counting down the waning moments in Zheng’s life. The lede, apparently an exclusive account, tries to lay to rest at least a couple questions: How was Zheng executed? And what were his real “last words”? A translation follows:
North of the capital in the vicinity of Xiaotangshan, Qincheng Prison lurks discreetly amongst the piled peaks at the eastern foot of the Yanshan Mountains.
[Image: Zheng Xiaoyu gets the bad news, via chinadaily.com.cn]
On Tuesday, July 10th at eight o’clock in the morning, the former director of the State Food and Drug Adminstration (hereafter referred to as State Drug Administration Bureau) held here, Zheng Xiaoyu, was removed from his jail cell to be positively identified before his execution.
First thing that morning, the admistering judge from Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate Court hurried over from the city and read out to Zheng Xiaoyu the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the death penalty and orders to excecute it.
After this, Zheng Xiaoyu took approximately one half hour to set down his will for his relatives.
At around 10 am, Zheng Xiaoyu was allowed to see his wife Liu Naixue for the last time. A half hour later, Zheng was escorted to a van specially utilized for executions. Finally, his life was ended by means of a lethal injection. Around noon, the Xinhua News Agency issued a brief press circular about it.
Judging by this course of events, “Zheng Xiaoyu’s last words”, now circulating on the Internet, are not his own.