Serving a warning against corrupt officials in high positions, the Chinese government yesterday executed its former drug and food safety chief, 62-year-old Zheng Xiaoyu.

Xiaoyu was convicted of taking bribes worth some 6.5 million yuan ($850,000) from eight companies and dereliction of duty, according to Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua said it was the first time that China has imposed a death sentence on an official of his rank since 2000.

Reacting to the execution, a spokesperson of China’s Food and Drug Administration said:

“We must ensure that those who have power fulfil their duties and responsibilities, and if anyone abuses their power they will be punished…”

“This kind of serious case of law breaking by a small minority of corrupt elements, as far as the entire system is concerned, really made us feel ashamed.”

The execution has raised hopes in graft-ridden Philippines that corrupt Filipino government officials will be executed, but these will have to be scheduled because the death row will be long.

Zheng Xiaoyu appears in court. Other Asian countries, like the Philippines, will have to follow China’s example of executing corrupt officials.