Amid deepening public concerns over the country's food safety following a wave of recent scandals, China's highest court has ordered judges nationwide to hand down harsher sentences, including the death penalty, to people convicted of violating food safety regulations.
In a directive released by the state-run Xinhua news agency over the weekend, the Supreme People's Court said in cases where people die from food safety violations, convicted suspects should be given the death sentence, while criminals involved in non-lethal cases should face longer prison terms and larger fines.
"The overall food safety situation is stable and improving, but incidents that still occur regularly have seriously endangered people's lives and caused strong social reactions," the directive quoted Wang Shengjun, the country's top judge, as saying. "Our task to maintain food safety remains challenging."
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