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Xi orders full investigation into China’s vaccine scandal

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A local market supervisory authority official checks on vaccines at a hospital in Rongan in China’s southern Guangxi region on July 23, 2018. President Xi Jinping has ordered a thorough investigation into an illegal vaccine production case. AFP

BEIJING (Xinhua) – President Xi Jinping has ordered a thorough investigation into an illegal vaccine production case and serious punishment of those found responsible.

Mr Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said this in an instruction while he is visiting foreign countries.

The people’s health should always be a top priority and the bottom line of safety should be resolutely guarded, Mr Xi said.

He described the illegal production of vaccines by Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Limited (Changchun Changsheng) as hideous and appalling.

Relevant departments and local authorities should pay close attention and immediately probe the case to find the truth, Mr Xi said, adding that the investigation should be thorough, the punishment severe, the accountability held seriously, and the case’s progress should be publicized on time to address public concern.

Mr Xi stressed that it is a bounden responsibility for Party committees and governments at all levels to ensure drug safety. A firm determination should be mustered to improve the country’s vaccine management system, and utmost efforts should be made to protect the people’s interests and social security and stability, he said.

Premier Li Keqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, instructed the State Council to immediately dispatch teams to thoroughly investigate the entire product chain – including production and sale – of all the vaccines.

The truth must be found as soon as possible, Mr Li said, vowing severe punishment and zero tolerance toward whichever enterprise and whoever involved.

The premier pledged to crack down hard on illicit and criminal activities that compromise people’s health and safety, harshly punish offenders, and resolutely hold people who neglect their supervisory duties accountable to give the people a safe and trustworthy living environment.

Acting on the leaders’ instructions, the State Council has established a task-force and sent an investigation team to the vaccine company.

Also set up were special teams at both provincial and city levels in Jilin Province for the investigation. The teams have started looking into all other high-risk pharmaceutical companies.

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