Despite the U.S partnerships with China, human rights activists have long reminded us that the country deals harshly with any dissidents. And apparently harsh treatment extends to those who head its corporations.
Death is the sentence imposed by a Chinese court today on two men who were involved in China’s melamine-tainted milk scandal that killed at least six children.
About 300,000 children became ill with kidney stones last year after drinking milk laced with melamine, an industrial component used to make plastics and fertilizers that is measured as increased protein count when added to food.
Some of the tainted formula may have made it to the U.S. in the Sanlu formula, sometimes imported in underground or black markets. And the tainted milk product was found in chocolates distributed mainly through Asia, which led to recalls.
The two women most widely blamed for the tragedy got life in jail.
The two men sentenced to death, were brothers and executives from the Sanlu Group. They were arrested last September, accused of adding the toxic chemical, melamine, to baby formula at a milk collection center in China. They were accused of knowing infants were becoming sick from the tainted milk for months, but failed to report the cases.
The contaminated formula may have been distributed for months. Some parents have been complaining of problems since March, the New York Times reports. Others noticed their babies’ urine was discolored after drinking the milk, the BBC reports.
One of the women blamed was Sanlu’s former general manager.
The trial was concluded just before the Lunar New Year. Many parents of children who died or who were sickened attended.
Melamine was the same ingredient added to pet food and blamed for killing thousands of cats and dogs in the US.
The contaminated baby formula scandal in that country highlighted the insufficiencies of China’s regulatory system, which in recent years has sent lead-ladened toys, toothpaste, deficient tires, and heparin to U.S. consumers.
As a result, the Food and Drug Administration opened three food safety offices in China, in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai at the end of last year. #