Saturday, November 15, 2003

But are you hungry a half hour later?

Some Chinese Mete Out Rat Poison Revenge
BEIJING - Each story is ghastlier than the last. A shop owner poisons the snacks at a rival's store, and 38 people die. A widow spikes the lunch at her husband's funeral, killing 10. A man seeks vengeance against his married lover by targeting her children.

Across China, aggrieved parties are increasingly turning to an outlawed but easily available weapon: a particularly lethal form of rat poison called "Dushuqiang."

With case after lurid case being described in the state-controlled media, the Chinese government has had enough.

Authorities are executing perpetrators and seizing hundreds of tons of Dushuqiang, which translates as "strong rat poison." Police are warning that those caught supplying poison used in fatal attacks could face the death penalty, too.
In January, China executed Huang Hu, 29, a kindergarten owner in Guangdong province who sickened 70 children by mixing Dushuqiang into salt at a rival school's kitchen. The students and two teachers suffered spasms and vomiting. Reports said Huang blamed the rival school for the failure of his own kindergarten.
But there's a problem:
Wang Shizhou, a Peking University law professor, attributes part of the problem to the way rural China operates. It's rife with toxins such as rat poison, pesticides and herbicides, and villagers get little training in their use.

"In the countryside, people do not know what kinds of things will poison somebody," Wang said, and an assailant may simply want to sicken one person but end up killing a dozen.
Hmm, sounds like some state education shortfalls to me.