The operation focused on fake or substandard food, medicine and agricultural products.

 

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The move is part of a sustained effort by China to repair the reputation of its products tarnished by a series of scandals at home and abroad.

 

"All local authorities and relevant departments have maintained a high-pressure attitude toward their crackdown on the illegal activity of producing and selling fake products," the agency said on its website.

 

"One after another, authorities have broken large-scale cases, investigated and taken care of them, shut down a large number of illegal hubs of activity, effectively striking and intimidating criminals," it said without providing further details.

 

Scrutiny

 

China's exports have come under intense international scrutiny recently after a number of potentially deadly chemicals were found in goods like toothpaste, toys and seafood.

 

Scares over safety have dented confidence in
products from toothpaste to toys [Reuters]
Tainted Chinese products have been blamed for deaths as far afield as Panama, and for killing hundreds of pet cats and dogs in the US.

 

In a related development, state media reported on Monday that China would raise quality standards for drug licensing following a string of deaths and injuries from fake or poorly tested medicines.

 

The new standards come into effect on January 1 and will allow no "severe defects" in the drug manufacturing process, the official Xinhua news agency said.

 

Current rules let a producer obtain a license if three such defects are found but corrected, the agency said.

 

The report said submission of false information by pharmaceutical companies was considered a "severe defect" but gave no other examples.

 

In July the former head of China's food and drugs safety watchdog was executed after it was found he took bribes to license a drug that was blamed for causing several deaths.