by Ted Rall
Should Leaders Who Ruin Lives Go Unpunished?
Zhang was co-owner of the Lee Der Industrial Company, the Chinese company that made toys for Mattel using toxic levels of lead paint. Mattel issued a recall expected to cost the company in the neighborhood of $30 million.
Poor guy–he probably didn’t even know the paint his workers were slathering on nearly a million toys for preschoolers was dangerous. “The boss and the company were harmed by the paint supplier, the closest friend of our boss,” reported the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper.
“It is not uncommon for Chinese executives to commit suicide after suffering damage to their reputation,” noted the UK Telegraph.
Zhang’s death followed the July execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, 62, head of China’s State Food and Drug Administration from 1994 to 2005. Zheng was convicted of accepting $850,000 in bribes from eight pharmaceutical companies in exchange for approving fake and substandard drugs. An antibiotic involved in the case killed at least 10 people.
The Xinhua news agency didn’t say how Zheng was killed, but most Chinese executions are carried out with a single gunshot to the back of the head. Shortly afterward a policeman notifies the condemned man’s family by presenting them with a bill for the cost of the bullet.
Now that’s accountability. Can we import some of that too?
The late Mssrs. Zhang and Zheng oversaw corruption and incompetence that pales next to catastrophes for which no American has yet been held to account. Thousands died in hurricane Katrina because officials all the way up to George “Heckuva job, Brownie!” Bush made a conscious decision not to help. Two years later, what’s left of New Orleans is dying, murdered by an appalling political calculus: It is (was) black. It was Democratic. Shouldn’t government officials face a firing squad for killing a major city?
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