China detains execs of scandal-hit vaccine maker

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Eager to contain snowballing public outrage over the scandal and maintain confidence in China's vaccine industry, authorities have responded with sharp condemnation and calls for swift punishment.

"We always say kids are the nation's future, but if we can't ensure the safety of such a future, what does the future hold for us?" asked Ms Huo Xiaoling, 37, who has a one-year-old daughter who received a vaccine made by Changsheng. Overseas markets included India, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Egypt, it said.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) said last week that the problematic rabies vaccine had not left Changsheng's factory, but that the company admitted it had shipped a separate sub-standard vaccine.

China's top anti-corruption agency also said Tuesday it will "severely punish" any local regulatory officials found guilty of dereliction of duty in supervising Changsheng.

The firm's shares are resume trading tomorrow. It has made China free from polio and significantly reduced vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis A and B among children.

The Chinese population is not a fan of this situation either, and they have been expressing their opinions on the Sina Weibo microblog gathering using a hashtag which was mentioned by over 600 million views. Censors initially appeared to block some posts about the case.

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CNN , in a statement , objected to the move, calling it "retaliatory in nature" and "not indicative of an open and free press". Bret Baier offered a statement of support for CNN from Fox News in response to the reporter ban during his show .

President Xi Jinping described the scandal as "shocking" and "terrible" and ordered an in-depth investigation into the case.

"Parents are confused and lots are apprehensive", she said.

Etched into public memory is the 2008 scandal in which several infants died after industrial chemical melamine was added to milk powder to raise protein levels artificially.

Last week, European regulators found that a common blood pressure and heart drug manufactured in bulk by Chinese firm Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical may have contained an impurity linked to cancer since 2012. The FT notes that other pharma companies are also feeling the pain: "The wider Shenzhen CSI 300 Health Care Index, which tracks the performance of 22 pharmaceutical stocks, was also knocked lower, falling 1 percent following Monday's 4 percent drop".

Gao is also Changsheng's largest shareholder. China has the second highest number of reported rabies cases in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), making vaccination particularly important to the country. To stem the PR damage as a result of the incident, the Chinese government is said to have issued a recall for the vaccines and it has stopped any further production of the drug.