When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

An Urgent Call For Accountability In China's Vaccine Scandal

The Chinese public wants answers, and decisive government action, after learning that two vaccine manufacturers distributed substandard products.

Half a million Chinese children received faulty vaccines
Half a million Chinese children received faulty vaccines

-Editorial-

BEIJING Following recent revelations of a data falsification and faulty product scandal involving Changsheng Bio-Technology, one of China's major vaccine manufacturers, authorities have arrested 15 people including the company president on suspicion of criminal behavior.

Located in the northeastern city of Changchun, Changsheng is accused of fabricating production and inspection records related to a rabies vaccine regularly given to infants, and of distributing substandard doses of its DPT vaccine, used against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. A second vaccine producer, Wuhan Biotech, is also thought to have sold hundreds of thousands of faulty DPT vaccines, which are mandatory for Chinese children.

The importance of a rabies vaccine is self-evident. Unless an infected person (someone who's been bitten by a rabid dog, for example) receives an effective and timely dose of the vaccine, the mortality rate is essentially 100%. Regarding the DPT vaccines, the Disease Control department of Shandong and Hebei provinces — where the substandard vaccines were delivered — found that more than half a million of children received the injections.

Chinese kid receiving vaccine

Chinese child being vaccinated — Photo: SIPA Asia/ZUMA

We believe that these children and their families need to be given a clear account of what went wrong. They also need to be told whether the vaccines will have a negative effect on them, and what remedy can be taken. It's necessary, furthermore, that the appropriate government agencies uncover the truth, and that the vaccine manufacturers, as well as the relevant responsible officials, be held accountable.

For now, there are still too many unanswered questions. China's food and drug administration has apparently known since last November that Changsheng's vaccine failed to meet national standards. Why, then, was the public not informed until mid-July of this year? And why, after nine long months, are the regulatory departments still unable to disclose why the DPT vaccines — from both Changsheng and Wuhan Biotech — were defective?

Again, shouldn't the local regulatory departments in Changchun be held liable first? If the provincial food and drug administration in Jilin really filed an investigation on October 27, 2017, as it claims, why does Changsheng Bio-Technology insist that it hasn't received any notification of the investigation? Whatever went wrong needs to be clarified.

These children and their families need to be given a clear account of what went wrong.

Since the disclosure of the incident, unfortunately, none of the first-level regulators or related agencies have stood up to make even the vaguest of apologies. Nor has anyone accepted any responsibility whatsoever. And yet, don't the "Regulations on Vaccine Circulation and Vaccination Management," adopted by the State Council on April 13, 2016, state clearly that in cases like this, local government and regulatory officials should resign?

People still recall that as recently as March 2016, when word got out about an illegal collusion ring involving nine pharmaceutical and distribution companies producing and distributing faulty vaccines, Prime Minister Li Keqiang requested a thorough and "timely" investigation. "No dereliction of duty is to be tolerated," he said.

Two and a half years later, his words are still ringing in our ears. Shouldn't the newly added clause of the "Regulations for Vaccine Circulation and Vaccination Management" mentioned above be applied, and the concerned officials be held accountable?

Facing the popular uproar over the latest vaccine safety scandal, Premier Li said that "clear account is to be made." The states need to follow through on that promise, and make sure the responsible parties are held accountable. Only then will the Chinese public be able to regain their confidence in China's domestically manufactured vaccines, and in the government itself.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ