Former dairy boss tried over China tainted milk scandal

The former boss of the dairy firm at the heart of China's tainted milk scandal stood trial here Wednesday over a trail of death and sickness that pushed Chinese products off shelves worldwide, shijiazhuang reported.

A small but vocal group of protesters gathered outside the court in this northern Chinese city, calling for justice after milk laced with an industrial chemical killed six babies and left 294,000 with kidney and urinary troubles.

"They should execute them all," shouted Hua Lian, a 45-year-old woman who described herself as a milk consumer, as roughly half-a-dozen relatives of sick children held up signs calling for justice.

"They have to deal with these people harshly. Otherwise people will never learn."

But lawyers monitoring the case for the families said the legal process had been flawed and that there was little chance of justice for the victims.

The former head of the Sanlu Group, Tian Wenhua, and three colleagues were put on trial on charges of producing and selling defective products, which lawyers said would mean a maximum punishment of life in prison.

The charges were weaker than lawyers for victims' families had initially expected, extinguishing the possibility that the four would face the death penalty.

Sanlu was the first and biggest dairy producer found to have this year sold milk laced with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics which was mixed into watered-down milk to give the appearance of higher levels of protein.

In all, 22 Chinese dairy firms were found to have sold tainted milk, and the government last week ordered them to pay 160 million dollars in compensation to the families of babies that died or fell ill.

However the families and their lawyers criticised the sum as woefully inadequate, with some parents set to only receive about 300 dollars.

"I'm a farmer. I don't have money to pay for the treatment. My son is still sick and he's not been able to get treatment," said one man who demonstrated outside the court before police pushed them away.

The protesting relatives held up sheets of paper that read: "The victims have a right to participate in judicial proceedings."

This reflected an apparently widespread complaint from the victims' relatives that they had not been allowed to tell the courts their version of events, and that authorities had rejected civil compensation lawsuits.

"We asked to participate in the trial, in the prosecution. We felt that we had a right to participate as we represent the victims," said Xu Zhiyong, a lawyer working for a group of people seeking to sue Sanlu and other milk firms.

"But the court refused to allow us. They didn't want the testimony of the people we represent. We think the court has violated legal procedures by not letting us participate."

Foreign press were not allowed inside the Shijiazhuang court, but Chinese state-run television and news services were let in to publicise the case.

In China, trials are often held behind closed doors and last just one day, with verdicts announced shortly afterwards.

Tian's lawyer, Liu Xinwei, told AFP during an afternoon recess that she had not yet entered a plea.

China's efforts to carefully publicise the trials appeared to reflect the government's intent to show both a domestic and international audience it was taking the issue seriously.

The milk scandal became a global problem after it emerged some of the tainted products had been exported, leading to recalls of Chinese dairy foods around the world.

It was just the latest in a spate of Chinese made products to have been recalled overseas in recent years due to safety concerns, with other problem products including toys covered with lead paint and deadly pet food.

The four Sanlu executives are the highest profile figures to be hauled before the courts over the scandal, after 17 people mostly accused of being middlemen went on trial in recent days.

Those verdicts have yet to be announced, but some of the defendants could face the death penalty.

Azerbaijani BestComp Group wins CISCO Corporation's tier-one partnership
Azerbaijani BestComp Group wins CISCO Corporation's tier-one partnership
Kazakh cities introducing smart technologies via Smart City projects
Kazakh cities introducing smart technologies via Smart City projects
EU working with Georgian partners to strengthen cybersecurity in country
EU working with Georgian partners to strengthen cybersecurity in country
Loading Bars
Massacre in Mexican bar leaves 11 people dead
5.3-magnitude quake hits 6 km ENE of Masagua, Guatemala
Armenia confirms lose of several occupied regions of Azerbaijan
Iran assigns more credit to develop Kermanshah Province
Power plants put into operation in Iran's Khuzestan Province
Energy Community: Georgia has big potential to become regional gas trading center
President Ilham Aliyev: We are on right path, we are defending ourselves, we do not lay claim to anyone else's lands
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office: Measures being taken to bring Armenian servicemen to justice
President Ilham Aliyev: I warned Armenia
President Ilham Aliyev: I congratulate all people of Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev: Army building always top priority of my activity
Azerbaijani president: As result of our focused, tireless efforts, world has broad picture of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict today
Azerbaijani president: Several occupied Azerbaijani settlements have been liberated
Azerbaijani president: There is high morale in all our military units, formations
President Ilham Aliyev: Everyone in their place, are ready to support our army and state at any time
Azerbaijani president: Armenia once again shows that its policy of aggression against Azerbaijan continues, this policy shows fascist essence of Armenia to whole world
Azerbaijani State Service for Mobilization: Martial law does not mean immediate mobilization
Qatar reports 234 new COVID-19 cases, 125,084 in total
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: Ammunition depot of Armenian armed forces destroyed (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan to appeal to int'l organizations to hold tribunal over Armenia
Defense ministry: Azerbaijani armed forces destroy lot of manpower and military equipment
President Ilham Aliyev signs Decree declaring martial law
Turkish Foreign Minister: Armenia once again gets response on battlefield
EU official Joseph Borel expresses serious concern over situation in region during phone call with Azerbaijani MFA
Assistant to president: Azerbaijani army achieves major strategic advantage by liberation of Murovdag
Hikmat Hajiyev: Azerbaijani armed forces continue to liberate occupied territories
Polish MFA expresses deep concern with reported military clashes around Nagorno-Karabakh
MFA: Iran ready to employ all of its capacities to help establish a ceasefire
Five members of Azerbaijani family killed as result of Armenian shelling
Azerbaijani, Turkish MFAs hold telephone conversation
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry urges international community to condemn Armenian official’s racist and chauvinist statement
Armenia confirms 16 people killed
Pakistani MFA: Armenia must stop its military action to avoid further escalation
Azerbaijani MFA, EU Special Representative for South Caucasus hold phone conversation
Turkish MFA: We will remain with our brothers, Azerbaijani Turks, till end
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office: Number of wounded among civilians reaches 14
Azerbaijan's political parties issue joint statement on Armenian provocation against Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani, Russian MFAs hold phone conversation
Azerbaijan introduces martial law
Defense ministry: Armenian armed forces fleeing battlefield leaving combat vehicles behind (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: Murovdag peak of Murov mountain system liberated
PM Pashinyan urges Armenians to flee from Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale September 28
Defense ministry: Azerbaijani military command proposes Armenian garrison in Agdere to surrender
EEAS High Representative: Return to negotiations of Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement needed urgently
Azerbaijani parliament make decision to introduce martial law
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price still rising
UN High Commissioner for Refugees: Crucial that Armenia and Azerbaijan heed calls for de-escalation, calm
Azerbaijani president: Armenia will be held accountable for this crime
NATO deeply concerned by large-scale military hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone
ICRC calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to take all measures necessary to ensure that civilian life and infrastructure respected, protected
Iran expands volume of gas reserves
Azerbaijani defense minister: Armenian armed forces retreating suffering big losses
Ukrainian MFA deeply concerned with escalation of conflict between Armenia, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh issues statement on Armenia’s recent attack (VIDEO)
MFA: Georgia express readiness to contribute to de-escalation of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict
Azerbaijani president: I have said several times, including from UN platform recently, that Armenia preparing for new war, and Armenia must and will be stopped
Israel-Azerbaijan International Association urges Armenia to stop occupation policy
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan will never negotiate with puppet junta regime
Azerbaijani president: Ours is the cause of justice, we will win
Azerbaijani president: Armenia received their punishment this time again and will continue to receive it
France reiterates its commitment to reaching negotiated and lasting settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict
Turkish president phones Azerbaijani president
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office calls for return to ceasefire around Nagorno-Karabakh
German Federal Foreign Office appeals to end hostilities within Nagorno Karabakh region
President Erdogan: Turkey with all its capacities close to Azerbaijan
Assistant to president: Security Council holds meeting chaired by Azerbaijani supreme commander
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for September 27
Azerbaijani parliament to hold meeting
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry shared video footage from battlefield
Azerbaijan confirms 132 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: Armenian armed forces’ defense line broken through, 7 villages liberated from occupation
Kazakhstan's MFA calls to abandon use of force, start negotiations
Council of Europe Secretary General calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to immediately stop hostilities
Hajiyev: Azerbaijani people united around supreme commander
Hikmat Hajiyev: Armenians distributing old videos
President of European Council appeals for military action to stop within Nagorno Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office: 9 wounded civilians hospitalized
Azerbaijani BestComp Group wins CISCO Corporation's tier-one partnership
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's transport sector
Georgia president: Very concerned with resumption of hostilities between Armenia, Azerbaijan
Turkish Parliament Speaker: Armenia - terrorist state that threatens not only Azerbaijan
Turkish ambassador: Turkey has always been and will be next to Azerbaijan
Defense ministry discloses villages liberated by Azerbaijani army
Zakharova: Russian FM intensively conducting talks on situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region
OSCE MG co-chairs appeal to cease hostilities within Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijan's MFA: Full responsibility for current situation falls on Armenia
Assistant to president: Azerbaijani armed forces liberate number of occupied territories
Azerbaijani president chairs meeting of Security Council (PHOTO)
Defense Consultant: Any activities conducted in Nagorno Karabakh by Armenia - illegal
CSTO makes statement regarding aggravation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenia plans to occupy Azerbaijani lands and does not hide it
Armenia confirms casualties suffered from its military attack on Azerbaijan
Iranian Offshore Oil Company boosts extraction
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani army currently inflicting blows to Armenia's military positions
Azerbaijani NGOs appeal to presidents of US, Russia, France due to Armenian provocation
Ombudsman makes statement on Armenia's gross violation of ceasefire with Azerbaijan
Net profit of Azerbaijani banks slightly drops
Port facilities launched in Iran's Hormozgan Province
Azerbaijan's import of cars from Turkey down
All news