China's Changchun mayor resigns after vaccine scandal: state media

Liu Changlong, mayor of Changchun city, gives a speech at a forum in Changchun, Jilin province, China August 19, 2017. Picture taken August 19, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - The mayor of the Chinese city of Changchun resigned on Tuesday, state media reported, after a safety scandal at Changchun-based vaccine maker Changsheng Biotechnology sparked widespread consumer anger.

The company was accused in July of falsifying data for a rabies vaccine and manufacturing an ineffective vaccine for babies, triggering public outrage and multiple official investigations.

The People’s Daily reported on Tuesday mayor Liu Changlong’s resignation had been accepted by the Standing Committee of Changchun’s People’s Congress. The state-run paper did not directly link Liu’s decision with the vaccine scandal.

In a separate report on Tuesday, the newspaper said the head of the Changchun Food and Drug Administration, Tang Ruodi, had been removed from his post.

China said on Saturday it had sacked six senior officials at its food and drug regulator, a day after state media reported that more than 40 government officials, including seven at the provincial level, had been held accountable for the scandal.

Changsheng is based in Changchun city in Jilin province. It is China’s second-largest producer of rabies and chickenpox vaccines, according to the company’s 2017 annual report.

The company said on its website on Friday that it had dismissed its deputy general manager in charge of production and warned or fined eight other employees.

Changsheng has said that because it would face huge fines and confiscation of all illegal income it faced the risk of delisting.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Se Young Lee; Editing by Darren Schuettler