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Sentences meted in China tainted meat case

July 25, 2011 at 5:08 PM

BEIJING, July 25 (UPI) -- Five suspects accused of producing and selling tainted meat in China were convicted of "endangering public security by using dangerous means," authorities said.

One defendant was given a suspended death penalty and four others received jail terms Monday, China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported.

The five were convicted of knowingly producing and distributing the fat-burning drug clenbuterol for use in pig feed, Xinhua said.

Liu Xiang was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and Xi Zhongjie to life for producing and selling almost 6,000 pounds of clenbuterol, authorities said.

Three other defendants received prison terms ranging from nine to 15 years.

Clenbuterol, which can make the flesh of pigs leaner, is poisonous to humans and is banned as an additive in stock feed in China.

In addition to the five men sentenced Monday, three former government officials were convicted of dereliction of duty in the tainted meat scandal.

Wang Ertuan, Yang Zhe and Wang Liming were found guilty in the Qinyang Municipal Intermediate People's Court in Henan of greenlighting the sale of 38,000 live pigs to other provinces without conducting clenbuterol inspections while serving at an animal epidemic inspection station.

Wang Ertuan was sentenced to six years in prison, while Yang Zhe and Wang Liming both received five-year jail terms, Xinhua reported.

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