Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

China Hit By Pork Scandal – pigs in several farms test positive for a banned drug

Posted by Author on March 18, 2011

Authorities in central China detained three officials and launched a probe into hundreds of pig farms on Friday after animals there tested positive for a banned chemical that can be dangerous to humans.

The latest food safety scandal in China emerged as the official Xinhua news agency said it had found that 52 out of about 1,500 pigs in nine farms in Henan province had tested positive for clenbuterol, a drug used by farmers to bulk up livestock.

The report prompted supermarkets to pull from the shelves Shineway brand meat products belonging to the country’s largest meat processor, Henan Shuanghui Investment and Development Co. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Central China, China, Food, Health, Life, News, Pork, World | Comments Off on China Hit By Pork Scandal – pigs in several farms test positive for a banned drug

Rice noodles prompt latest China food scare

Posted by Author on January 1, 2011

BEIJING — Large amounts of rice noodles made with rotten grain and potentially carcinogenic additives are being sold in south China, state press said Friday, in the country’s latest food safety scare.

Up to 50 factories in south China’s Dongguan city near Hong Kong are producing about 500,000 kilogrammes (1.1 million pounds) of tainted rice noodles a day using stale and mouldy grain, the Beijing Youth Daily said. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Economy, Food, Life, Made in China, News, products, Social | 1 Comment »

Inflation in China Blamed on US

Posted by Author on November 28, 2010

By Li Xiaoyu, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 28, 2010 –

Skyrocketing prices of everyday goods in China threaten the standard of living of the country’s poorest citizens, as well as its nominal middle class. Given the potential dangers faced by the Communist Party as public discontent swells along with inflation, the United States has become scapegoat Number One.

From soybean, ginger, garlic, to cotton and sugar, surging prices have struck one product after another since the beginning of the year. The China Securities Journal described cotton prices in October as “crazy.” Cotton has increased 93 percent compared with the same period last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Economy, Food, Life, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Inflation in China Blamed on US

Tainted Milk Scandal Shows Danger of Seeking Justice in China

Posted by Author on November 22, 2010

By Huang Tianchen, Epoch Times Staff, Nov. 22, 2010 –

According to a joke, a tourist accidentally fell into a construction pit. He became enraged and told the tourist guide, “In our country, a red flag would have been put up wherever it’s dangerous, but yours doesn’t.” The tourist guide smiled and replied, “When you entered customs, didn’t you see a giant red flag fluttering in the wind, clearly giving you a five-star index warning?”

Unfortunately, in China today this is more of a daily reality than a joke. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, Business, China, Food, Health, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Tainted Milk Scandal Shows Danger of Seeking Justice in China

China jails father of tainted milk victim for two and half years

Posted by Author on November 10, 2010

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing, The Financial Times, Nov. 10, 2010 –

A Chinese activist who organised a support group for parents of children affected by one of the country’s worst food safety scandals has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison on a charge often used to silence government critics.

A Beijing court on Wednesday handed down the unusually harsh sentence for “disturbing social order” on Zhao Lianhai, whose young son fell ill in 2008 after drinking baby formula tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical.

At least six children in China died after drinking melamine-tainted milk and more than 300,000 were left with kidney problems.

The scandal was initially ­covered up by the local authorities and, allegedly, also a central government ministry to ensure that it did not overshadow the Beijing Olympic Games, which opened at about the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, Children, China, Food, Health, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China jails father of tainted milk victim for two and half years

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (4)

Posted by Author on May 31, 2010

By TOM LASSETER, McClatchy Newspapers, U.S, May. 30, 2010 –


‘He was helpless,THERE WAS NO WAY OUT’

Zhang Dayan doesn’t have a picture of her late husband, Peng Gonglin. There was no family photograph at the house; that sort of thing is for people with money, not peasants, she explained.

She didn’t want to talk about Peng. “Just leave what happened alone,” Zhang said.

Peng’s older brother, who lives next door and didn’t want his name published, agreed. “Right now, it’s meaningless to talk about this matter,” he said. “My brother is dead.”

Peng’s suicide note told of his efforts to expose faulty seed distribution, the necessity of buying prostitutes for local officials and the beating he received, according to Chinese media reports. The government quickly announced that it was giving his family 200,000 yuan – almost $30,000 in hush money, decades’ worth of salary in the area.

On the road that leads to Peng’s house, a cousin of his rode by in a cart pulled by a tractor.

“We know a lot of farmers who’ve bought fake seeds in this area,” said Peng Yanmin, as the other farmers around him nodded. The government, he said, does nothing to protect them, and some suspect that those responsible for the bad seeds have connections with officials.

What did he think about his cousin’s suicide?

“I think he was helpless,” Peng Yanmin said. “There was no way out.”

He paused. The sky was getting dark; a shower was coming.

The driver started the tractor again, belching black smoke. The men rumbled away. A few minutes later the rain came, falling on the fields where Peng Gonglin once worked. (END)

from McClatchy Newspapers

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (1)
Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (2)
Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (3)

Posted in Central China, China, corruption, Economy, Food, Henan, Life, News, Official, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | Comments Off on Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (4)

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (3)

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010

By TOM LASSETER, McClatchy Newspapers, U.S, May. 30, 2010 –

<< previous

TIME FOR LUNCH with officials

The question of how bad seeds flooded the market and escaped official detection may be a simple case of greed and incompetence.

The two owners of the firm that sold the seed, Xinxiang Wu Feng Seed Industry Co., probably could give an answer, but they’ve been taken into custody for questioning, according to company employees. Two county officials are reported to be under investigation.

A senior researcher from the seed company, Zhao Xinming, acknowledged in a phone interview that his bosses hadn’t submitted the seeds to government inspectors and had sold them under false packaging. He said that the seeds weren’t the problem, blaming bad weather and worse farming practices.

Zhao said that his company and its owners had no ties to the government.

Local officials, though, act as if they have something to hide.

On a small country lane in Deng Zhuang last week, a silver minivan pulled up and four plainclothes policemen got out and asked a McClatchy reporter for his identification. A few minutes later, a black Hyundai showed up with five government representatives in it.

There would be no more interviewing locals about Peng. With the black Hyundai leading the way and the police van following, the authorities insisted that the reporter join them at a nearby hotel for lunch.

A crystal chandelier dangled from a gold ceiling in a private dining room. The officials ordered one course after the other – Beijing duck, a delicate mushroom soup, vegetables plucked from the mountains, ox tripe and sea plants, a large fish, spices and sweets – costing more than most villagers make in a month.

A man who was introduced as Tian Zhong of the Chinese Communist Party propaganda department said that one shouldn’t listen to what the farmers said, that they didn’t know anything. In fact, Peng’s own wife probably didn’t even know what her husband’s gender was, Tian said to guffaws at the table as the officials gorged themselves on more than a dozen dishes brought to the table by a pretty young waitress.

“He’s just a farmer,” Tian said of Peng, as he picked food from his teeth. “He doesn’t know what he was talking about.”

After the conversation ended, a county official confided that Tian’s real first name was Dong, not Zhong. He didn’t work for the propaganda department; he was the deputy director of the county’s agricultural bureau.

The reporter then was escorted back to the Zhumadian city limits. (to be cont’d)

Read more from McClatchy Newspapers:

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (1)
Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (2)

Posted in Central China, China, corruption, Economy, Food, Henan, Life, News, Official, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | Comments Off on Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (3)

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (2)

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010

By TOM LASSETER, McClatchy Newspapers, U.S, May. 30, 2010 –

<< previous

WRITING ON THE WALL- “Illegal petitioners will be severely punished”

About 45 miles up the road from the poverty of Deng Zhuang, banners advertise “elegant living” and “baroque flooring” in clusters of glimmering new buildings in the city of Zhumadian. The rolling wheat fields that ring the city are crossed by miles of elevated train tracks, part of China’s $100 billion-plus investment in a high-speed rail system that’s being pounded into shape.

Few in the West have heard of the surrounding province of Henan, but its population is expected to reach 100 million this year, roughly one-third that of the United States.

One large sign for a Zhumadian construction project reads in English: “Control the future Control the world.”

It’s a postcard from a nation hustling toward greatness.

Drive south toward Deng Zhuang, and the signs begin to change. Red and white banners painted on walls proclaim: “Implement the central government’s spirit. Fight against illegal petitions.”

In hamlets farther on, slogans streaked across the sides of buildings warn: “Illegal petitioners will be severely punished.”

The meaning is clear: Those who speak against the government are dealt with harshly.

As word spread this past year about failed rice crops in the region around Zhumadian, most locals remained silent. Thousands of acres of dry rice fields – those planted with seeds that don’t need as much water as traditional paddies – yielded little or no harvest, according to a March publication overseen by a federal government agricultural inspection agency.

The seed came from North Henan, mislabeled as a more costly variety and ill-suited for the local climate and soil, said Tong Junhua, vice director of the Zhumadian seed station. Had the weather been perfect, at least some rice would have grown, but heavy rains wiped out the inferior seeds.

The price difference between the varieties was minimal, Tong said.

“People are driven by greed, even if it’s just a little money,” he said. “They thought nothing would go wrong and figured why not.”

Why didn’t agricultural or local officials test the seeds, as they are required to do by law?

“I don’t know; I’m not clear why the relevant departments didn’t do their job,” Tong said, laughing but looking exasperated. (to be cont’d)

Read more from McClatchy Newspapers:

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (1)

Posted in Central China, China, corruption, Economy, Food, Henan, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | Comments Off on Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (2)

Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (1)

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010

By TOM LASSETER, McClatchy Newspapers, U.S, May. 30, 2010 –

— Peng Gonglin wasn’t an important man. He lived in a bare concrete house in a small village where women stoop beside ponds to scrub clothes in buckets and the men often harvest crops by hand.

When his rice fields came up empty last October, Peng had no influence and little cash. The 43-year-old farmer had spent almost all of his family’s savings and borrowed more to lease the land and buy seeds.

County experts in the central province of Henan tested the seeds he’d planted and determined that he’d been sold inferior goods. Peng begged for financial or legal help from the local agricultural bureau and its county seed station.

He took what remained of his family’s money and tried to bribe two local officials to intervene. They accepted the meals, massages and prostitutes, but they did nothing in return, according to a letter he later wrote.

Finally, on March 29 he returned to the county seed station to plead once more. Men there beat Peng about the head until he went home, humiliated.

Facing financial ruin, he carried out one last act of protest. Early the next morning, Peng Gonglin’s body was found hanging at the seed station.

The story of Peng’s lonely suicide reveals the pitfalls beneath the glossy surface of China’s booming economy. Ordinary Chinese who’ve been cheated or defrauded, especially in rural areas, find themselves trapped in neo-feudal conditions with no protection beyond the mercy of corrupt officials.

Outsiders are sometimes baffled by the emphasis Chinese leaders put on order and harmony, and their crushing response to any signs of unrest. From the turmoil in a village such as Deng Zhuang, though, it’s clear that the nation sits uneasily on deep social fault lines.

In the aftermath of more than a half-dozen attacks at schools across China during the past two months, in which men walked into classrooms and hacked small children with hammers or knives, many Chinese experts pointed to the lack of social safety valves and legal means of venting frustration.

“People at the bottom of the social ladder … are deprived of their rights to speak out, of their rights to appeal and petition,” said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing University of Technology who specializes in issues of rural development.

As one Chinese lawyer wrote in an online essay last month, “The lack of social justice makes people hate government officials. Once these burdens accumulate beyond people’s psychological endurance . . . they tend to act in an extreme way, whether to retaliate against society or to choose to commit suicide.” (to be cont’d)

Read more from McClatchy Newspapers:

Posted in Central China, China, corruption, Economy, Food, Henan, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | 2 Comments »

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)

Posted in Beijing, Children, China, corruption, Food, Health, Law, Life, Made in China, News, People, Politics, products, Social, Tainted Products, World | Comments Off on Father of China’s toxic milk-powder Children victim on Trial

Worst Drought in a Millennium Creates Severe Food Shortages in South China

Posted by Author on April 3, 2010

The Epochtimes, Apr. 1, 2010-

Southern China is experiencing its worst drought in living memory, impacting 61.3 million people in the provinces of Guangxi, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, the city of Chongqing, and surrounding areas.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has released a disaster brief, and second-in-charge of the Chinese Communist Party, Wen Jiabao, has done the rounds to the drought affected areas, rallying the troops.

The supply of drinking water for 18 million people, and water for 11.7 million large livestock and five million hectares (12.5 million acres) of farmland are compromised; more than 1.15 million hectares (2.9 million acres) of farmland already decimated.

The direct economic loss is estimated at 23.66 billion yuan (US$2.85 billion).

Wen Jiabao went to Qujing, a city in Yunnan Province from March 19-21 to inspect the region. Beijing News reported that he told local cadres to “prepare for the worst” after he was informed that millions of mu (one mu equals 7.176 sq. feet) in crops had perished from drought in the city.

In response, the Chinese Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have allocated 155 million yuan for drought relief, an average of three yuan (US$0.5) per person.

Guizhou Province released an official announcement on March 19, reporting that severe drought has affected 84 counties, cities, and other areas with a population of 17.3 million. More than 3.1 million people are short of food.

Some of the reports were a throwback to more bitter times, during the disastrous agricultural collectivization known as the Great Leap Forward, when nearly the entire population was starved and many survived on leaves, wild vegetables, and half-rotting foodstuffs. Chongqing Morning Post reported that some villagers of Xiaowanshan Village in Yunnan Province are surviving on the so-called “starving sheep plant,” a wild plant that sheep normally refuse to eat. These villagers are said to have nothing more left at home to eat.

The drought affecting Yunnan exceeds any from over the past millennium, according to the local department of meteorology. It is estimated that by May, one out of four people will have no drinking water.

The drought began last fall and has persisted for three consecutive seasons. It could continue through early summer. Seven million people are expected to suffer the effects of the food shortage.

Guangzhou Daily quoted an official from Mile County of Yunnan, on March 22. He said, “Our harvest for early spring crops such as corn, wheat, and kidney beans is zero. We cannot seed for the late spring crops. If there’s no rain by May, major spring crops such as rice are at risk. People will face starvation.”

Shuitang of Wenshan is considered the driest village in Yunnan. It is located on a mountain peak 5,906 feet above sea level.

“There have been no fresh vegetables for three months. Many people forage for wild weeds in the mountains. There’s no drinking water, let alone water for irrigation,” according to Li Shaozhong, a Shuitang village staff member, as reported in City Express.

Li said he pleaded, in tears, for the villagers to leave. “Are you waiting to die of thirst?” he asked them.

In Shibanfang, Yanshan County of Yunnan, Wang Chaoyun, the village party secretary told The Epoch Times, “We are experiencing very severe drought. Villagers have to retrieve water from four miles away. Everyone’s doing nothing but fighting the drought.

“The rivers and ponds are completely dry. There’s no water in wells or cellars. There are no vegetables. The wheat is all dead. Even the mountain trees have wilted. There’s nothing left,” Wang said.

Yang Mingquan, a villager from Xingyi City, Guizhou Province told The Epoch Times, “There’s been no rain since June 15 of last year. Local natural wells have dried up, reservoirs are basically exhausted, and rivers have no water. All streams in the village are gone. Wheat and rapeseed are all dead. All vegetables are dead and gone.”

He said that locals have to retrieve water on a daily basis from streams located 19 miles away. The local government has had to provide the equivalent of five pounds of drinking water per person.

Yang said, “Basically, there’s no water for cattle, horses, or pigs. Most have either been killed or sold. No one can afford them. People are now struggling to survive.”

Yang reflected on Wen Jiabao’s instructions to Party cadres. He said that “Prepare for the worst” really means “This is a life-threatening disaster!” (the Epochtimes)

Posted in China, Food, Life, News, People, South China, SW China, World | Comments Off on Worst Drought in a Millennium Creates Severe Food Shortages in South China

China drought leaves 24 million short of drinking water

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010

AFP, Mar. 31, 2010-

BEIJING — China said Wednesday that more than 24 million people were short of drinking water because of a crippling drought, the worst to hit the country in a century.

Most of those affected live in the southwest where meteorologists say the situation will not improve until the rainy season, which should kick off after May 20, vice minister of water resources Liu Ning told reporters.

Authorities have set aside 6.3 billion yuan (923 million dollars) to help mitigate the immediate effects of the drought and bring drinking water to the affected population.

Over the long term, the government plans to launch water conservation projects such as the construction of new reservoirs.

Liu insisted food supplies would not be affected by the dry spell, which has spread across Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, the Guangxi region and the mega-city of Chongqing.

“This drought will not have an impact on food production and security in our nation,” Liu told a press conference.


Posted in China, disaster, Food, Life, News, South China | Comments Off on China drought leaves 24 million short of drinking water

Toxic Beans Scandal Exposes “Unspoken Rules” among Chinese Officials

Posted by Author on March 4, 2010

NTD TV, Mar. 4, 2010-

Another food safety scandal in China.

Last month Chinese agricultural authorities of Wuhan City in Hubei Province announced they had destroyed 3.5 tons of yard-long beans. The beans, produced in Hainan province, were found to contain the highly toxic and banned pesticide, isocarbophos.

Since then, public anger has emerged across China over officials who would rather cover up the scandal.

Officials from Sanya, the city where the contaminated beans came from, publicly criticized Wuhan authorities for violating “unspoken rules” among government officials—that scandals should be communicated internally before being publicized. One Sanya official also accused his Wuhan counterparts of lacking “team spirit” and “causing them to lose face.”

These comments from Sanya authorities have outraged the public. Many are dismayed that public safety is being put at risk so that officials can be spared losing face. Others say the so-called “unspoken rules” to cover up scandals by Chinese communist officials are more problematic than the toxins being added to food and other products.


Posted in Central China, China, corruption, Food, Hainan, Hubei, Life, News, Official, People, Politics, Social, South China, World, Wuhan | 1 Comment »

Lead Children Denied Tests by Official In Central China

Posted by Author on August 27, 2009

Radio Free Asia, Aug. 26, 2009-

HONG KONG—Promises by local government officials offering free blood tests to children affected by pollution from smelting plants in the central Chinese province of Hunan have yet to be fulfilled, residents and officials said.

An official at the hospital near worst-hit Wugang township, where more than 1,000 children are believed to have higher-than-normal levels of lead in their blood, said the hospital had not yet been told how to deal with the large numbers of worried parents trying to book tests.

“There are several dozen patients coming for blood tests every day, but I don’t know the actual patient numbers per day,” said an employee who answered the phone at the Wugang People’s Hospital.

“Senior management has requested a survey [of lead poisoning cases], and we will know the procedure in a few days’ time,” she added.

Local officials have promised the closure of privately owned zinc and manganese smelting plants after being hit by a wave of violent clashes between police and angry parents in central Hunan and northern Shaanxi provinces in recent weeks.

Official Chinese media also reported that free blood tests would be available for children affected by the polluting factories, but residents of Wugang say the authorities have yet to deliver on their promises.

Bribery alleged

“There are only three government permission slips for free individual blood tests for the whole village,” a mother surnamed Wang from Wugang said.

“Some parents are willing to pay the cost themselves in order to have their children checked. However, local hospitals have been bribed by someone, so the parents never see the correct results,” she said.

Another Wugang villager surnamed Zhang said she had been turned down for lead tests at several hospitals in the area.

“Some said there was no electricity, some said the machines weren’t working, and some said the maintenance staff hadn’t shown up for work at the right time, and so on,” Zhang said.

Some villagers even went as far as Hengyang city, taking their children to at least five hospitals, she said.

“But none of the children has actually been tested,” she said……. (more from The Radio fee Asia)

Posted in Central China, Children, China, Environment, Food, Health, Henan, Human Rights, Life, News, Official, People, pollution, Social, World | Comments Off on Lead Children Denied Tests by Official In Central China

1,300 Children Poisoned by Lead in Central China

Posted by Author on August 21, 2009

Radio Free Asia, Aug. 21, 2009-

HONG KONG—More than 1,300 children have been poisoned by lead from a year-old manganese factory in China’s central Hunan province, official media said, on the heels of another lead-poisoning scandal in nearby Shaanxi province.

The mass lead contamination in Wenping township, Hunan province, has led to charges that authorities have failed to adequately regulate toxins. Official media said it had opened in May last year without approval from local environmental authorities.

Sixty to 70 percent of children living near the factory showed unhealthy levels of lead in their blood, the official Xinhua news agency said.

A total of 851 children were found to have excessive lead levels in their blood, Xinhua news agency said. It said 155 children were still receiving hospital treatment, out of a total of 174 cases requiring hospitalization.

Authorities closed the factory, located near a kindergarten, primary school, and middle school, and detained two executives on suspicion of “causing severe environment pollution.”

An employee at the Wugang municipal government, contacted by telephone, said Wednesday that the manganese factory had been closed.

“The manganese mine has been shut down. Lead poison from industrial pollution is quite common in China. Our municipal leaders attached great importance to this incident and have taken many measures to deal with it,” the city employee, who asked to be identified by his surname, Huang, said.

“Wugang city has posted a notice in Hengjiang village, indicating that all residents who live within 2.5 kms of the manganese factory can go to the designated clinics to have medical exams and the government will pay for the cost. The municipal government has begun an investigation on the factory and whoever is responsible for the pollution will be held accountable,” he said.

Yang Xin, an environmental activist from Chengdu, Sichuan province, said this latest incident of lead poisoning—along with another reported last week in Shaanxi—show that China’s small- and medium-sized mining enterprises must be overhauled.

“Many small- and medium-sized mining enterprises face similar problems such as shortage of money and lack of technology,” Yang said.

“They are usually privately owned and operated and their owners seek profits only and care little about environmental protection. There is a trend that such phenomena are spreading out from China’s coastal areas to the mid-west regions.”

Some employ local residents, including children, who know little about industrial pollution. “They’re easy prey,” he said.

Protesters recently stormed the Dongling smelting works in Shaanxi, which they blamed for the lead poisoning of 851 children.

The Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co. was ordered by environmental protection authorities in Fengxiang county to suspend lead and zinc production Aug. 6 following a public outcry.

Fengxiang county government has offered free blood tests for 1,016 children aged 14 and under from three villages of Changqing Township, official media reported.

Radio Free Asia

Posted in Central China, Children, China, Food, Health, Henan, Life, News, People, pollution, World | Comments Off on 1,300 Children Poisoned by Lead in Central China

China milk scandal firm bankrupt

Posted by Author on February 12, 2009

BBC News, 12 February 2009 –

A Chinese food group at the centre of a contaminated milk scandal which killed six babies has been declared bankrupt with debts of $160m (£113m).

Sanlu, which had been one of China’s most trusted brands, was the first of 22 firms found to have sold the milk.

More than 300,000 children were made ill by the milk, to which melamine had been added to boost protein readings.

The chairwoman of the Sanlu Group, Tian Wenhua, has already been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Other Sanlu executives received sentences of five to 15 years. Two other men were sentenced to death.

But anger among the Chinese population was not only directed at Sanlu. As the scale of the deadly scam became known, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao gave a rare public apology for failing to prevent the crisis.

Chinese product safety regulators have now announced they are investigating whether a unit of the French Danone group also used the toxic chemical.

BBC News

Posted in Businessman, China, Company, corruption, Economy, Food, Health, Law, News, products, Social, World | 1 Comment »

MALAYSIA Bans China chicken imports

Posted by Author on January 28, 2009

News Straits Times, 2009/01/28 –

MALAYSIA has banned the import of chicken from China due to the bird flu virus which has killed five people in the republic.

Veterinary Services Department director-general Datuk Dr Abd Aziz Jamaluddin said the ban, effective Jan 16, would only be lifted when the situation in China returned to normal.

“We don’t have to worry about a shortage of supply as all private sector companies in the country which import chicken from China have enough stock for three months,” he said here yesterday.

He added that the department had permanently frozen the import of chicken from Thailand since last year due to the virus.

“We cannot take chances as the breakout hit the country two years ago,” he said, referring to the outbreak, and spread, of the Avian flu virus in Paya Jaras Hilir, Sg Buloh.

China had reported a total of six cases of H5N1 virus this year, with the latest being the death of an 18-year-old youth in the South China province on Jan 26.

Other deaths included a 19-year-old teenager in Beijing on Jan 5, a 27-year-old woman in Shandong on Jan 17, a 16-year-old boy in Hunan on Jan 20 and a 31-year-old woman in Xinjiang on Jan 23……. (more details from News Straits Times)

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Food products from China destroyed in Ireland

Posted by Author on January 28, 2009

PAUL GALLAGHER, The Irish Times, January 27, 2009 –

entering Ireland from China that contain the chemical melamine are now being destroyed at Dublin Port following recent powers given to health officials and customs officers.

The new European-wide emergency control legislation was introduced following the melamine-tainted infant formula food scandal uncovered in China last September.

Milk used to manufacture a wide range of products within China had been diluted fraudulently and melamine was added to restore the apparent protein content of the milk.

Melamine was subsequently found in many food products, forcing a wave of recalls in many countries around the world. It was part of a long list of food scandals to hit China and prompted the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to recall Chinese-made sweet products from a number of stores within Ireland, fearing they may contain melamine.

The legislation, which came into effect last October, now requires all food imports from China that contains milk/soya at any level (which can also include chocolate and biscuits) to be detained at Dublin Port and tested. Any product found to contain melamine at a concentration greater than 2.5mg/kg is then destroyed.

Raymond Ellard, a director with the FSAI, said: “The vast majority of products have been allowed to pass through, but a small number of melamine-contaminated products have been destroyed. The testing is an on-going safety measure and as many as 160 products have been tested so far.”

Melamine can cause kidney stones, leading to kidney failure, and infants are particularly vulnerable.

“At least six babies died and more than 290,000 were made ill in China after taking milk contaminated with melamine. Composite feed products are also covered under the new rules to ensure that non-compliant food products are not diverted for animal use. The import and sale of all infant formula food from China is also prohibited.

Last Thursday, a Chinese court condemned two men to death and handed a life term to another former dairy boss for their part in the contaminated milk scandal.

It was also reported on Sunday that Chinese quarantine authorities seized more than 23 tonnes of frozen Irish pork that was found to be contaminated with dioxin and ordered it be returned.

The pork was imported by a company in the city of Suzhou in October. Inspectors sealed the pork and ordered the company to send it back. China had banned the importation of Irish pork last month following the contamination scare.

The Irish Times

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China says 296,000 children fell ill from tainted milk

Posted by Author on January 12, 2009

AFP, Jan 11, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — China said Monday that a total of 296,000 children had fallen ill from consuming dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, up 2,000 from the previous official count.

The health ministry also told reporters at a briefing that a total of 52,898 babies had been treated in hospital for kidney problems caused by the toxic ingredient. Of these, 52,582 had been discharged.

The health ministry announced in early December a figure of 294,000 babies sickened by melamine, a chemical normally used to make plastic.

Earlier ministry data also showed six deaths had been linked to melamine.

The figure was released as the nation awaited the verdicts in the first cases against officials from Sanlu Group, the company at the heart of the baby formula scandal.

The discovery that melamine was mixed into baby milk, in a bid to make it look richer in protein, shocked consumers both in China and abroad, dealing another blow to the reputation of the nation’s products.


Posted in Children, China, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, News, People, products, Tainted Products, World | Comments Off on China says 296,000 children fell ill from tainted milk

China releases parents of melamine sickened children: lawyer

Posted by Author on January 3, 2009

AFP, Jan. 3, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese police have released five parents of children sickened by melamine-tainted milk, a day after detaining them to prevent them holding a press conference, their lawyer told AFP Saturday.

The five adults were preparing to speak to the media to demand better treatment for their sick children when they were detained on Thursday evening in Beijing.

“They have all been released,” said lawyer Xu Zhiyong. “Their (the police’s) aim was to stop them from holding a press conference.”

Police in Beijing were unavailable for comment.

Ma Hongbin, one of the parents held, refused to talk about his detention, but said his daughter’s health was still bad after she drank milk contaminated by the industrial chemical.

“Let’s not talk about this, ok?” he told AFP by phone on Saturday of his detention.

He said his 18-month-old daughter had developed kidney stones after consuming tainted milk powder made by Sanlu, one of the Chinese dairy firms at the heart of the scandal.

“She fell ill on September 1, and she had very large kidney stones, which have now been evacuated,” Ma said.

“But her situation is still not good, and when the weather changes, you can see her face is a bit bloated. Her fallopian tube has also expanded.”

The scandal of China’s milk scandal came to light in September and has had nationwide repercussions with at least six children dying and nearly 300,000 suffering from kidney and urinary problems after they drank contaminated milk.

Melamine, normally used to make plastic, was added to watered-down milk to make it appear higher in protein.

Journalists were alerted on Wednesday of plans by the parents of affected children to hold a press conference, but the five were held in a centre in the south of the city before being released on Friday evening……. (more from AFP)

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, Food, Health, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, scandals, Social, World | Comments Off on China releases parents of melamine sickened children: lawyer

In China, tainted milk trial kept under wraps

Posted by Author on January 1, 2009

By Barbara Demick, January 1, 2009 –

Reporting from Shijiazhuang, China — Inside a courthouse cordoned off by yellow tape and a phalanx of police, the alleged perpetrators of China’s tainted-milk scandal are being brought to trial here. But the sensational consumer safety case has been shrouded in so much secrecy that it is hard to say whether justice is in fact being done.

On Wednesday, the most significant defendant, Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, admitted that her company had delayed for months reporting that its infant formula contained the additive melamine, which causes kidney stones. Tainted formula killed at least six babies and sickened about 300,000 others.

China has made a big show of the trial, releasing courtroom video of the defendants being paraded before the judges in yellow-and-black prison garb. But the public has seen only snippets and images, and all but a few carefully screened journalists from government-owned news media have been excluded.

Parents and their lawyers, many of whom traveled from across the country in hopes of seeing the trial, are also personae non gratae at the well- secured courthouse here in Shijiazhuang, about 190 miles south of Beijing.

“There is no transparency in the process. They are behaving like there is something to hide,” said Teng Biao, a Beijing lawyer who has been trying to bring a lawsuit on behalf of 111 parents. “They are completely excluding the victims.”

The case is turning into a showdown between the Chinese government’s opaque legal system and a consumer culture that increasingly clamors for information and accountability.

Parents whose babies were sickened by the melamine have set up their own websites (one is called, which translates to “”) and trade text messages about the latest developments.

Although they have been barred from the courthouse, privately owned Chinese news outlets have stationed dozens of reporters behind the police lines, trying to interview people as they come and go.

“This is a case that the whole country is watching, actually all the world,” said Zhang Chen, senior editor for an online news service and one of the journalists in the scrum Tuesday.

Courts throughout China have refused to hear the parents’ lawsuits, and lawyers who have tried to file them have been threatened with disbarment, lawyer Teng said.

In its haste to wrap up the case before the end of the year — which under the traditional Chinese lunar calendar falls Jan. 25 — the government is pressing parents to accept a $160-million settlement from a consortium of dairies that was announced this week.

“It is not that I want vengeance. I don’t care about people getting the death penalty. I only want what is right for the children,” said Li Yanfang, 28, one of the mothers who was refused entry to the courthouse here.

Li complained that the government is forcing an inadequate and confusing settlement on the parents.

She was called to a municipal office here in Shijiazhuang, where she lives, and asked to sign a letter by which she would forfeit her right to further claims in return for $300 and free treatment for kidney problems until her 17-month-old daughter turns 18.

She wasn’t permitted to take the letter with her or make a photocopy, although she insisted on copying the letter by hand. When she was about to leave the municipal office, an official told her she would have to sign another letter acknowledging that she was forgoing the money.

Li refused to sign anything.

“We’re not going to sign away our rights for so little money,” said Li, who works in the insurance industry, along with her husband. “But other families in the countryside who aren’t in as good a situation as we are will feel that they need to take the money and keep quiet.”

Three babies in Li’s apartment compound have the same kidney problems as a result of drinking Sanlu’s baby formula, which was heavily marketed as a quality local brand. The company is headquartered in downtown Shijiazhuang in a huge factory with giant lettering on top of its roof reading, “Manufacture Quality Dairy Serve the People.”

Without an opportunity to hear the testimony, it is impossible to know much of what has been said at the proceedings here. For example, the daughter of Tian Wenhua, the Sanlu chairwoman, has alleged that officials in Shijiazhuang and surrounding Hebei province were part of a coverup.

“We used to receive frequent visitors from the Health Ministry. These people would eat and drink and take ‘red envelopes,’ ” Wu Qing wrote on a blog published in September, referring to the envelopes traditionally used in China to give cash. “They extorted us and didn’t inspect the product. Shouldn’t the government take responsibility?”

China’s top product quality supervisor resigned in September after the milk scandal broke, as did several Shijiazhuang officials, including the city’s Communist Party secretary. But no government officials or executives of other dairy firms implicated have been arrested in the case.

Among the 17 people who have gone on trial are other Sanlu employees and various small-town businessmen who sold melamine under the name of “protein powder” to dairy farmers. The official press has reported that some could face the death penalty.

“These criminal suspects may have committed serious crimes, but they are not the only ones,” lawyer Teng said. “The higher government officials abused their power and should be prosecuted as well.”

Los Angeles Times

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EU bans China soy products for infants and children, industrial chemical found

Posted by Author on December 4, 2008

Reuters via The Guardian, UK, Wednesday, December 3 2008 –

BRUSSELS, Dec 3 (Reuters) – European Union regulators have banned imports of Chinese soy-based food products for infants and young children after an industrial chemical was found in Chinese soybean meal, the EU executive said on Wednesday.

The chemical, melamine, is used in pesticides and plastics. Some months ago, it was the focus of a scandal over milk products that saw several thousands of children fall ill.

Rich in nitrogen, melamine is fairly cheap and can be added to substandard or watered-down milk to fool quality checks, which often use nitrogen to measure protein levels in milk. “Competent authorities in the (EU) member states will have to test all other feed and food containing soya and soya products originating from China before allowing imports,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Only feed and food containing under 2.5 milligrams of melamine per kilogram will be allowed into EU markets. The ban is expected to come into force by the end of this week.

All Chinese consignments of baking powder, or ammonium bicarbonate, will also be tested at EU points of entry after high levels of melamine were found, the statement added.

Last year, the EU imported around 68,000 tonnes of various soy products or products containing soy for a total value of some 34 million euros ($43 million). The imports include soybeans, soybean flour and meal, soya sauce and protein concentrates as well as textured protein substances. The EU has already banned imports of milk and milk products from China, as well as all products originating from China for infants and young children that contain any proportion of milk.

Although the EU does not import milk or milk products from China, the Commission is concerned that composite food products that enter EU markets might contain, or be made from, such items — like biscuits and confectionery, especially chocolate.

EU countries are also obliged to test processed food from China that contains powdered milk.

– The Guardian: EU bans China infant food containing soy products

Posted in Business, China, Economy, Europe, Food, Health, Law, Life, Made in China, medical, News, products, Tainted Products, Trade, World | Comments Off on EU bans China soy products for infants and children, industrial chemical found

China reports huge increase in children sickened by tainted milk– 294,000

Posted by Author on December 2, 2008

AFP, Dec. 2, 2008 –

BEIJING (AFP) — China has dramatically raised the tally of children sickened by dairy products laced with the industrial chemical melamine to 294,000, more than five times the original figure.

In a late-night statement on Monday, the health ministry also said six babies may have died from consuming poisoned milk, up from a previous confirmed death toll of three.

The updated figures showed the problem over contaminated milk in China this year was much greater than the government had acknowledged for months, after it said in late September that just 53,000 babies had fallen ill.

Melamine is a chemical normally used to make plastics, but it emerged in September that it had been routinely mixed into watered-down Chinese milk and dairy products to give the impression of higher protein content.

Melamine can cause kidney stones if taken in excessive levels, and babies who were fed tainted milk powder suffered the worst because they consumed so much of the chemical.

The ministry said the 294,000 children who fell ill had suffered from urinary tract problems and that 51,900 of them had been admitted to hospital for treatment.

A total of 861 children remained in hospital, with 154 of them in a serious condition, according to the ministry.

The central government previously said three babies had died of kidney failure from consuming tainted milk powder, while a regional government also reported one death.

A health ministry spokeswoman confirmed to AFP on Tuesday that the six potential deaths included the three confirmed earlier.

The scandal became a global issue when news broke in September, with Chinese dairy products around the world recalled or banned after they were also found to be tainted with melamine……. (more details from AFP)

Posted in Children, China, Economy, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, News, People, Politics, products, Social, Tainted Products, World | 1 Comment »

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