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Father of China’s toxic milk-powder Children victim on Trial

Posted by Author on April 3, 2010

Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch (Chinese), via The Epochtimes –

The father of one of the victims of China’s toxic milk-powder scandal has been charged with “inciting social upheaval” because he demanded medical help for his child.

Zhao Lianhai, a Beijing resident whose son developed kidney stones after consuming melamine-tainted milk powder, founded a citizen’s group called “Kidney Stone Babies” that advocates for the rights of the victims and their families. Because of his vocal public activism, he has been nicknamed “The Father of Kidney Stone Babies.”

Zhao’s proactive involvement in assisting others who were unhappy with the way the government handled their cases made him a target for investigation by the Daxing District police.

He was arrested and has been held in custody since last November. His first court appearance was on March 30.

The trial, held at the Daxing District Court in Beijing, was closed to the public. Li Xuemei, Zhao’s wife, had asked to attend but was turned down. No verdict was announced at the conclusion of the trial.

During the entire five-hour proceedings, Zhao was kept shackled at the ankles. According to Peng Jian, Zhao’s defense attorney, Zhao was also handcuffed when he was first taken into the courtroom in the morning. Only after Peng protested were the handcuffs removed; the ankle shackles remained.

Zhao pleaded not guilty to the charge of inciting social upheaval. Peng and Zhao’s other defense attorney Mr. Li Fangping told Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch that prosecutors don’t have a case as evidence was collected before Zhao was even charged. In addition, most of the prosecution’s witnesses are policemen, creating an obvious conflict of interest.

The hearing attracted wide attention among Zhao’s supporters and human rights activists. A few dozen supporters waited outside the courtroom during the trial along with several overseas media, including the Associated Press.

Police had cordoned off the area to separate the demonstrators and were using a camera and video camera to keep a record of the demonstrators.

Some supporters held signs that read, “Citizen’s Right to Life,” “Rule of Law,” and “Justice.” Some shouted, “Release Zhao Lianlai, Zhao Lianlai is innocent!”

Some demonstrators asked the police, “Do you have children? Do you have a conscience?”

Zhao’s wife and son were among the supporters, and both of them were weeping……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

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