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    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    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 ‘Children’ Category

3 of Tainted Milk Parents Held by China

Posted by Author on September 14, 2009


Radio free Asia, 2009-09-14-

Family members of the victims of a milk scandal demand justice outside the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Peoples court, Jan. 22, 2009.

Family members of the victims of a milk scandal demand justice outside the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's court, Jan. 22, 2009.


HONG KONG
—Three parents of children sickened in China’s 2008 tainted-milk scandal were detained after observing the one-year anniversary of the milk scandal, and another who planned to join them has been taken to an unofficial “black prison,” victims’ parents say.

Guo Caihong and Zhou Jinzhong from central Henan province and Xiang Qingyu from southern Jiangsu province met last Friday at a restaurant in suburban Beijing’s Daxing county, parents said. But authorities then detained and questioned them.

Milk powder contaminated with an industrial chemical killed at least six babies and sickened nearly 300,000 others with painful kidney stones last year. Friday marked one year since Sept. 11, 2008, when a Chinese dairy recalled hundreds of tons of baby formula and the government vowed “serious punishment” for those responsible.

Chinese authorities are jittery and eager to crack down on dissent ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on Oct. 1. Police have arrested or detained leading dissidents and are harassing lawyers who defend them.

Zhao Lianhai, a representative of victims’ parents, said a local official from Henan contacted Guo Caihong on Friday and promised to take her home from Beijing.

“But on Saturday afternoon, a volunteer told me that the three parents had been taken by their respective local officials to an unknown place instead of home. When they were led away, local police were there as well,” Mr. Zhao said.

Zhou Jinzhong, one of the three parents, described what happened.

“On Saturday, I was taken away by staff members from the Henan Province Office in Beijing, and then they questioned me. Now I am with local officials from our township and our village. I will be heading home tomorrow,” Zhou said in an interview Monday.

He said the two other parents received similar treatment.

Another parent of a tainted-milk victim, Liu Hai from Siyang city, had planned to attend anniversary activities in Beijing but was sent to a “law study group,” an unofficial detention center also known as a “black prison.”

“My husband has been taken away by an office of the local government,” Liu’s wife said.

“This is the news his uncle managed to get through his connections. For me this is the end of the world.”

Radio free Asia

Posted in Children, China, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on 3 of Tainted Milk Parents Held by China

Six-Year-Old Chinese Girl Dreams of Being a Corrupt Official

Posted by Author on September 8, 2009


By Luo Ya, Epoch Times Staff Sep 7, 2009 –

A short video posted on NanDu.Net, a Chinese news website, featuring a six year old girl from Guangzhou City has become the talk of China. When asked about her ideal life, the first grader proudly announced that she dreamed of becoming “a corrupt official, as they have lots of property.” The video was soon being discussed throughout the major media and Internet forums.

By late Sept. 2, the video had already received 14,000 hits, but was soon blocked and later deleted by the website. NanDu.Net had set up a poll for viewers to vote on how they felt about the video; the majority said it “accurately reflected the reality of Chinese society.”

”This six-year-old girl can see the nature of our society,” said Guangzhou attorney Liu Shihui in an interview with The Epoch Times. “I very much admired her vision. She got right to the point. Unfortunately, it also shows how poisoned the next generation of the country has become. These little souls have been led astray; this is awful.”…… (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Children, China, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Life, News, People, SE China, Social, World | Comments Off on Six-Year-Old Chinese Girl Dreams of Being a Corrupt Official

Of 13 Million Abortions in China, Most Are Forced, Says Women’s Rights Expert

Posted by Author on August 31, 2009


By Vicky Jiang, Epoch Times Staff Aug 31, 2009 –

Forced abortions in China are not a thing of the past. Under the one child policy, many women in late term pregnancy are still forced to abort their children. Chinese provincial authorities are responsible for mass forced sterilizations, and abortions are often performed by people with inadequate training in unsterile conditions.

“The one child policy causes more violence toward women and girls than any other policy on the face of the earth,” said Reggie Littlejohn, a one child policy expert and president of the newly-founded Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. “Forced abortions and forced sterilizations are an unacceptable form of population control.” She says that when there is free speech in the country people will be able to have a civilized discussion and come up with a solution, though she does not suggest any specific ideas.

Many women develop critical health problems for the rest of their lives and the emotional impact resulting from forced abortions contributes to the high rate of female suicides, she says.

Wei Linrong from Guangxi Province, a devout Christian and anti-abortionist, was forcibly injected with poison that killed her unborn child, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) report. Ten family planning officials visited her home and drove Wei and her husband to a maternity hospital.

Wei was put through nearly 16 hours of contractions before a stillborn emerged, blackened by the effects of drugs. The body was then thrown away like “rubbish” by nurses, according to NPR. Wei was seven months pregnant.

He Caigan, an unmarried 19-year-old, was forced to abort her child at nine months in the same manner, according to the report by NPR. The operation caused her prolonged physical pain and emotional trauma.

The one child policy was introduced in 1979 to curb the apparently growing problem of overpopulation. Years earlier, under Mao Zedong’s rule in the 1950s, Chinese people were encouraged to produce children to boost the country’s labor and military forces.

13 Million Abortions a Year

China Daily, a state-controlled newspaper, recently published annual abortion figures of 13 million and a live birth rate of 20 million, as recorded by China’s National Family Planning Commission.

The recent China Daily article, echoed by a BBC report, attributes the high number of abortions to lack of education on contraception. However, experts say that most of the abortions are due to the one child policy.

“[We are] fairly certain most of [the 13 million] are forced abortions,” says Colin Mason, who conducted field work in Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces in March this year for the nonprofit Virginia-based Population Research Institute. The two provinces are “models” in China, where the one child policy is strictly enforced and all birth quotas are met. Based on his experience in China, he said most people would have more than one child if they could……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Children, China, Forced Abortion, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Social, Women, World | Comments Off on Of 13 Million Abortions in China, Most Are Forced, Says Women’s Rights Expert

Allegedly 10 Died in Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Outbreak in Northeast China

Posted by Author on August 29, 2009


By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 28, 2009-

Nearly ten children have allegedly died in a hand, foot, and mouth Ddsease (HFMD) outbreak in China’s northeast city of Gongzhuling, Jilin Province, according to a resident there. However, the local regime has not sounded an alarm despite the severity of the situation.

The disease started to spread in Gongzhuling in August, after mainland media reported an HFMD outbreak in central and eastern China in May, and in neighboring Heilongjiang Province in June.

A local resident, who does not want to be named, told the Epoch Times that many large kindergartens announced indefinite closures, only reopening several days ago after the holidays. Many of the infected children have been sent to hospitals in nearby Changchun as local hospitals are full.

Another local resident reported that staff from the local infectious disease office warned of the seriousness of the outbreak saying, “About 10 children have died from the disease.”

An Epoch Times reporter made phone calls to Gongzhuling Municipal Health Bureau. One female staff member confirmed three deaths and 730 current admissions due to the disease according to the Bureau’s information at the time.

“The weather in August is very hot, and the population is very mobile, so the disease has spread quite fast,” the official said, adding that the Bureau had ordered all kindergartens to close.

However, no official report regarding the outbreak could be found on the regime’s official Web site—nor do the local media report on this issue, according to local residents.

Some residents also revealed the hospitals reported some of the diagnoses as herpangina instead of HFMD. The residents suspected that this was the result of pressure from the regime to disguise the number of victims.

A resident said almost all the children have the same symptoms—first, a high fever, then redness and festering in the roof of the mouth, followed by the development of a red rash on the fingers and feet.

Some parents also complained that primary schools have not instituted any preventive measures. For example, all students still eat their lunches together.

“I personally think that the elementary schools should also be closed, as the situation is severe and several kids have died,” one parent said.

The Epochtimes

Posted in Children, China, disaster, Health, Jilin, Life, NE China, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Allegedly 10 Died in Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Outbreak in Northeast China

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 Schools ‘Kill Imagination’

Posted by Author on August 18, 2009


Radio Free Asia, 2009-08-18 –

HONG KONG— A group of Chinese fiction writers has called on the country’s primary schools to stimulate the imaginations of young learners, who were found in a recent survey to be very computer-savvy but reluctant to think “outside the box.”

Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of the China Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Association, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on Aug. 14, said too little imaginative fiction is available to the nation’s schoolchildren, who are fed instead a diet of “correct” answers to fixed questions as part of the national obsession with exams.

“This lack of imagination will definitely have a profound impact on the creative capacities of the nation’s youth,” Sun was quoted in the official People’s Daily newspaper as saying.

He called for more fiction to be included in primary school syllabuses.

“Reading imaginative fiction can stimulate the imagination of children and broaden their thinking, showing them what is possible for the imagination,” he said.

The People’s Daily cited a 2000 report by the China Youth Research Center and the Beijing Normal University titled “Fantasy and Imaginative Capacity among Urban Chinese Children.”

Based on the ideas of U.S. educator F.E. Williams, the study tested 1,370 third-year Chinese elementary school students in an attempt to gauge their curiosity, imaginative capacity, appetite for challenge, and appetite for risk.

With an average score for each trait of 3.0, the highest score among the children for curiosity was 2.39, on appetite for challenge, 2.28, on appetite for risk, 2.25 and on imaginative capacity 2.18.

And a recent International Assessment of Educational Progress (IAEP) survey of 21 countries found that Chinese children were top of the class for computer skills, while their creativity was fifth from the bottom, compared with children from the other 20 countries.

Only 4.7 percent of children interviewed described themselves as “curious,” the study said.

Education system blamed

Authors and experts blamed an education system fixated on learning by heart the “correct answers” to fixed questions for the lack of development of the imagination in China’s children.

Chinese children, they said, are trained to do as they are told rather than develop their own viewpoint, to follow the mainstream, and not to be oppositional.

Nanjing-based writer Zan Aizong said it isn’t true that Chinese children lack creativity, however.

“Chinese children are very intelligent. The main thing is the test-oriented education system … Gradually they become fixed into a certain way of doing things,” Zan said.

“Children are very imaginative when they are playing or being naughty.”

“The education system is very rigid. Children need a freer space in which to express themselves. They need more freedom to play,” he said.

New York-based writer Dong Dingshan said he sees children in the United States having a larger space in which to be creative.

“My granddaughter [raised in the U.S.] has a very strong imaginative capacity. She can always think of something to do, or something to play with,” Dong said.

The schools give them every imaginable kind of toy to play with … it’s not just toys, either, it’s ordinary objects. The result is that she paints really well, at six years old. I think this is because she has been allowed to develop freely,” he said.

Dong said the Chinese education system is too focused on exams to allow children to develop their creativity.

“The entrance exams for university and high school are all based on set questions, so the students grow up thinking that it’s enough just to answer them in a prescribed manner,” he said.

Radio Free Asia

Posted in Children, China, Education, Life, News, People, World | Comments Off on China Schools ‘Kill Imagination’

China Bans Quake Memorials

Posted by Author on May 12, 2009


Radio Free Asia, May 12, 2009-

HONG KONG—One year after a massive earthquake killed thousands in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, bereaved parents say authorities are preventing them from holding memorials for children who died when their school buildings collapsed.

Parents who tried to protest the allegedly shoddy construction of school buildings in Dujiangyan township—one of the region’s worst-hit towns—said police had detained several people, as dozens more were under house arrest or held at hotels outside the area during the May 12 anniversary.

“Our husbands were detained by the Dujiangyan police when we came to the museum in Jianzhou,” a bereaved mother surnamed Li said.

“Now we can’t get through on his phone. The Dujiangyan police detained two of them. It happened when we were waiting for them to go and buy some fruit at the museum. They took them before they even came back,” Li said.

Officials now say last year’s massive Sichuan earthquake left 5,335 schoolchildren dead or missing, releasing their first official tally just days before Tuesday’s anniversary.

Poor construction

Many bereaved parents say school buildings were poorly constructed and collapsed too easily when the quake struck, while structures nearby stood firm.

They said the authorities have prevented them from filing lawsuits or staging public demonstrations of anger or mourning since the 8.0-magnitude quake—which left nearly 87,000 people dead or missing.

State media previously said 14,000 schools—half of which collapsed entirely—suffered damage in the quake, while early estimates of the numbers of students and teachers killed were put as high as 9,000.

A bereaved father surnamed Chen answered his cell phone to say he had been taken by police to a hotel in the suburbs of the city, before the line was cut off abruptly.

And a mother surnamed Wang who joined several hundred parents on a march to the Dujiangyan township government last Thursday said most of the parents of quake victims in the town were now under surveillance.

“Most are under house arrest,” she said from a location outside the province.

“We escaped by disappearing to another province beforehand. They are looking for us everywhere.”

“A lot of parents are under restrictions. We can’t get through on their phones. The government is trying to persuade some of them to go traveling elsewhere in China.”…… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in Children, China, Life, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on China Bans Quake Memorials

Hundreds Missing Children in South China Spark Outcry

Posted by Author on May 4, 2009


Radio Free Asia, 2009-05-04 –

HONG KONG—The disappearance of hundreds of children in southern China has prompted an outcry among parents, who say the government has done little to locate their children or determine what may have happened to them.

Authorities have dismissed as rumor concerns that hundreds of missing children may have been subjected to organ harvesting.

Announcing the return of three out of four missing children in Heyuan city, in Guangdong province, in recent days, Huang Jinlai, director of the Yuancheng district Public Security Bureau, told reporters of the organ-harvesting allegations: “This is nothing but rumor.”

Huang Jinlai’s comments come amid growing concerns from the parents of the missing that their children may be being harmed or exploited by those who steal them.

A mother surnamed Huang in Guangdong’s Dongguan city said she was worried the children may have been crippled and used in begging gangs, or had their organs harvested and sold.

“The police are just like bandits,” Huang said. “They have no idea how we feel about this. I was crying at home last night. Why are they like this?”

“All these years, I haven’t even known whether my child is alive or dead. I’m worried that some of the children have been crippled and left by the side of the road to beg for money.”

“Other people say that they take their hearts for transplant. It makes me scared just to think about it. I can’t sleep, day or night. I just keep thinking about it,” Huang said.

Inaction alleged

Another mother, surnamed Zeng, whose seven-year-old daughter went missing in 2006, said the government didn’t appear to take the problem seriously enough.

“Because you [the government] ignored our cases and didn’t try very hard to solve them, there is little we can do [besides protest]. So many children disappear every year, and it’s because you, the local government, don’t take it seriously,” she said.

“If you did your job of enforcing the law properly, we wouldn’t be losing our children.”

An employee who answered the phone at the Dongguan municipal police department, and officials in the municipal government, declined to comment on the cases.

Repeated calls to the municipal Party secretary’s propaganda office went unanswered during office hours two weeks ago.

Other parents described a police crackdown when they protested last week.

“We wanted to see local leaders, but no leaders wanted to meet us. Therefore we decided to protest,” one woman, surnamed Zhang, said.

“We walked for several hours. There were many police following us and by early afternoon we had clashed with them. Many of us were injured. Some were bleeding,” said Zhang, who said her son, Wang Bin, was missing.

Another mother, surnamed Ye, said her son was abducted when he was nine months old.

“They overreacted by using riot police,” she said of the authorities. “All they need to do was to have police maintain order.” …… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in Children, China, Family, Guangdong, Health, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, SE China, Social, South China, World | Comments Off on Hundreds Missing Children in South China Spark Outcry

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.

AFP

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

Outbreak of lead poisoning in south China province

Posted by Author on January 2, 2009


by Michael Anderson, SOH Radio Inc, December 30th, 2008 –

Over forty children from Xinshanhe Village in Pizhou city in Jiangsu province have been diagnosed with lead poisoning. Locals claim that these are the results of polluted air pumped out by a local lead alloy company. It severely contaminates the air of villages around the factory. Villages also claim that they have been stopped from taking their children to Beijing for treatment and that the company in question is being protected by local communist officials due to the large amount of tax it pays.

Mr Hwang from Xinshanhe village says that he took his child to Beijing for a medical checkup in the beginning of the month on two occasions, and both times he was forcibly taken back home by Beijing officials and Chunxin personnel. He says they were then beaten. He says that this has happened to other people around the village. They have been prohibited from getting treatment in Beijing. They are restricted by local officials to receive treatment in Nanjing.

ChunXin Alloy Corporation has been operating for 20 years, and the polluted air extracted from its factories have caused many illnesses to residents in the region as well as agricultural losses. Mr Zhou also from Xinshanhe village says that there are dozens of people in the villages around him suffering from lead poisoning, especially children. He says that the fumes coming from the factory have a high lead content that falls into the water causing contamination of the water. This is then consumed by residents.

Mr Huang told reporters that Chunxin illegally took over acres of farmland to in order to expand its factory, and forced farmers to sign away their land. These farmers who have lost their lands and livelihood only managed to get back a few hundred dollars in compensation last year after years of trying.

SOH Radio Inc.

Posted in Children, China, Health, Jiangsu, Life, News, People, SE China, World | Comments Off on Outbreak of lead poisoning in south China province

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 »

China’s change of student quake death toll angers parents

Posted by Author on November 21, 2008


By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times, USA, November 21, 2008 –

Reporting from Beijing — Jiang Xujun felt the stab of his daughter’s death all over again today when Chinese officials acknowledged for the first time that 19,000 students perished in May’s deadly earthquake — and then immediately backed off the estimate.

Jiang used his bare hands to dig the body of his 7-year-old daughter, Jiang Yao, from the rubble of her primary school. Since then, he has fought the government for compensation for the death and assistance in finding a new home.

The months have brought only misery. On Friday, Chinese officials added insult to Jiang’s injury.

At a news conference on preparations for the winter in the quake zone, Wei Hong, executive vice governor of Sichuan, gave the student death toll as 19,065 — nearly a quarter of the total death count — a figure that was immediately quoted in stories by Chinese state-run and foreign news services.

Soon, however, an officer from the Sichuan provincial propaganda office said an official translation at the news conference misconstrued Wei’s remarks. He said the 19,065 figure was the total number of earthquake victims who have been identified.

For many, including the angry parents of children who died when their unstable schools collapsed, the about-face spoke volumes of how Chinese officials deal with sensitive revelations: a moment of candor followed by a contradictory reversal.

A Xinhua news agency report of the news conference reported Wei’s original remarks, but a second story on the state-run site claimed his estimate referred to a detailed list of identified dead and not specifically students.

A veteran reporter for the China Youth Daily today said it was still confusing whether Wei inadvertently released the real student death toll number, or was misquoted.

“I don’t know whether it’s true or not,” he said. “I have been to several earthquake zones, and I only know the death toll there, but for an overall death toll, I really have no way to know.”

For months following the 7.9-magnitude quake, officials had declined to offer a precise toll of the number of students who died. The topic has raised the ire of many Sichuan residents who watched schools collapse while other nearby buildings suffered little damage.

“We don’t trust the local government, they are too deceptive,” said Jiang, a 37-year-old former home-renovator. “School buildings are of shoddy construction. I am afraid the real number of dead students is more than 19,000.”

Jiang said the Fuxin No. 2 school where his daughter died was built in 1997. A total of 127 students at the school died in the earthquake, including 27 of the 41 in his daughter’s classroom.

“Other teachers’ office buildings did not collapse,” he said. “The school fence walls did not collapse, even our rural buildings did not collapse, just the [classroom] building collapsed.”

In the face of angry residents, local officials have also tried to quell protests from parents who have demanded an investigation into school construction. Police have been called in to silence rallies and some parents of dead or missing children say they have been either intimidated or even bribed to remain silent.

A local official at the heart of the quake zone killed himself this week, the second such suicide in two months, state media said, another sign of the emotional toll.

On Friday, Wei estimated that 1,300 schools have been rebuilt or are currently under construction. He said 200,000 homes had been rebuilt and another 685,000 dwellings were under reconstruction. Still, 1.94 million households still needed to be rebuilt or repaired, he said.

Jiang is among those waiting for their homes to be repaired.

“The local government did not realize their commitments to us,” he said. “We still have to borrow money from friends and relatives, we have to live our lives. Our [home] is not suitable to live, there are splits, winter is coming. It’s very cold.”

Along with the chill of winter, Jiang shivers over the loss of his little fifth-grader. “At 11:40 a.m., on May 13th, the second day after the quake, I finally dug out my daughter with my own hands,” he said.

The biggest pain comes from seeing the children who survived. “Watching others’ children bounce lively — they are lovely like flowers — it’s painful,” Jiang said.

“My wife suffers much more.”

Glionna is a Times staff writer.

– Los Angeles Times: China’s shifting student death toll from quake angers parents

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Deaths uncounted in China’s tainted milk scandal

Posted by Author on November 18, 2008


By CHARLES HUTZLER, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, USA, Saturday, November 15, 2008-

LITI VILLAGE, China — Li Xiaokai died of kidney failure on the old wooden bed in the family farmhouse, just before dawn on a drizzly Sept. 10.

Her grandmother wrapped the 9-month-old in a wool blanket. Her father handed the body to village men for burial by a muddy creek. The doctors and family never knew why she got sick. A day later, state media reported that the type of infant formula she drank had been adulterated with an industrial chemical.

Yet the deaths of Xiaokai and at least four other babies are not included in China’s official death toll from its worst food safety scare in years. The Health Ministry’s count stands at only three deaths.

The stories of these uncounted babies suggest that China’s tainted milk scandal has exacted a higher human toll than the government has so far acknowledged. Without an official verdict on the deaths, families worry they will be unable to bring lawsuits and refused compensation.

So far, nobody is suggesting large numbers of deaths are being concealed. But so many months passed before the scandal was exposed that it’s likely more babies fell sick or died than official figures reflect.

Beijing’s apparent reluctance to admit a higher toll is reinforcing perceptions that the authoritarian government cares more about tamping down criticism than helping families. Lawyers, doctors and reporters have said privately that authorities pressured them to not play up the human cost or efforts to get compensation from the government or Sanlu, the formula maker……. (more details from The Washington Post)

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Timeline: China milk scandal (till Nov. 14, 2008)

Posted by Author on November 17, 2008


BBC News, 14 November 2008-

Dangerously high levels of the industrial chemical melamine have been found in powdered baby milk and other dairy products in China, sparking worldwide safety concerns. The BBC looks at how the saga unfolded.

10 Sept: China reveals that 14 babies fell ill in Gansu province over the previous two months. All drank the same brand of milk powder. Cases start being reported around China.

12 Sept:
Sanlu Group admits that its milk powder was contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine.

13 Sept: Production halts at Sanlu Group. Nineteen people are arrested.

15 Sept: Beijing confirms two babies have died. Vice-President of the Sanlu Group apologises to the public.

19 Sept:
Melamine is found in ordinary milk from three well-known dairies. One of the firms involved – Mengniu dairy – recalls all its products.

22 Sept: Toll of ill babies rises to 53,000, and the death toll to at least four. The head of China’s quality watchdog resigns, becoming the first national leader to step down because of the scandal.

23 Sept: Countries across Asia start to either test Chinese dairy products or pull them from shops.

26 Sept: The EU bans Chinese baby food with milk traces. Sales of the popular sweet White Rabbit are halted after tests detect melamine.

29 Sept: Cadbury recalls products in Asia after tests find traces of melamine. Reports say 22 people have been arrested in Hebei province, suspected of introducing melamine into the supply chain.

15 Oct: Nearly 6,000 infants remain in hospital across China for kidney diseases. Six are in a serious condition.

21 Oct: About 1,500 racoon dogs bred for their fur on a farm in China die of kidney failure after eating feed tainted with melamine.

23 Oct: Six more people are arrested in connection with the tainted milk scandal.

26 Oct: Hong Kong authorities discover eggs produced by Dalian Hanwei Group’s eggs contain melamine. They are pulled off the shelves.

30 Oct: Two more egg brands from Shanxi and Hubei provinces are found to contain melamine.

31 Oct: State media admit that melamine is probably being routinely added to Chinese animal feed.

2 Nov: A Chinese official insists the egg scandal is an individual case and clamps down on illegal producers of feed.

14 Nov: The US issues a nationwide “import alert” for Chinese-made food products.

BBC News, 14 November 2008

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China official sacked after web video triggers outrage over assault on 11-year-old girl

Posted by Author on November 4, 2008


Jane Macartney in Beijing, Times Online, UK, November 5, 2008-

Internet outrage has forced the dismissal of a senior Chinese Communist Party official after video footage from a restaurant security camera showed him shoving the father of an 11-year-old girl he had allegedly assaulted.

It was a moment that stirred fury among parents concerned for the child and touched a chord among the tens of millions of Chinese angered at abuse of power that has become increasingly blatant as prosperity has offered more opportunities for officials to profit from their positions.

Armies of netizens have taken part in numerous online manhunts in China in the past couple of years, but this appears to be the first time that a search by “human flesh engines” has resulted in the sacking of a senior government official and even a police investigation.

The incident began last week when a male diner at a seafood restaurant in the southern city of Shenzhen asked a young girl walking past his table to direct him to the lavatories. Closed-circuit television footage shows a pot-bellied man in a white shirt following a little girl with a ponytail across the room. A couple of minutes later the girl is seen running back alone.

Reports on the internet say the child told her parents that the man grabbed her by the neck and tried to force her into the toilets. She ran for help. The video shows her reappearing with her parents to look for the man. He returns to the dining room and into the frame, where he is seen shoving away the girl’s father when challenged to explain his behaviour.

Even state media said that the man then shouted: “Yes, I did it. So what? How much to you want? Just tell me. I’ll give you the money.”

The two men argue and the older man points and tries to push away the father. He shouts: “Do you know who I am? I am from the Ministry of Transportation in Beijing. I have the same seniority as the mayor of your city. So what if I grabbed the neck of a small child? You people count for fart! If you dare challenge me, just wait and see how I will deal with you.” When the father calls the police, the man leaves with his female companion.

Chinese websites reported that the police said the man had drunk too much, did not remember anything and, with no witnesses to the girl being assaulted, there was no evidence that he had behaved indecently.

An online furore soon led to his being tracked down and identified as Lin Jiaxiang, party secretary of the Shenzhen Maritime Bureau. Photos of Mr Lin, 58, receiving various government awards, including a commendation on behalf of his “Civilised Work Unit”, were soon plastered across the internet.

He was dismissed on Monday. The Ministry of Transport party committee said that his “wild words and behaviour have had an extremely negative impact on society”.

Online commentators were enraged about the incident. One wrote on the website sina.com: “It looks like organised crime and the Government should swap places. In this case organised crime seems more righteous than the Government.”

The Times Online

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China hospital’s cover up of 8 new baby death triggers widespread anger

Posted by Author on October 8, 2008


Reuters, Tue Oct 7, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Nine Chinese hospital officials have been fired, including the president and a vice president, after eight newborn babies died from infection, state media said on Tuesday in the latest health scandal to hit the country.

The No. 1 Hospital, affiliated with the medical school of Xi’an Jiaotong University in northwest Shaanxi province, had compensated parents of the babies who died last month, but the infants’ deaths were kept quiet for days.

Doctors who treated the newborns were suspended from work, pending investigation, Xinhua news agency said.

“The eight babies died between September 5 and 15 of a hospital-acquired infection. Their deaths were not reported to health authorities until too late,” Xinhua said.

“The deaths triggered widespread anger after being revealed to the public September 25.”

The hospital refused to comment, saying it would give a formal reply to the media at “some other time,” Xinhua said.

Health authorities blamed the accident on the hospital’s lax management, inefficient execution of regulations and irresponsible medical staff.

The hospital, one of the biggest in northwest China, said on its website it launched a safety overhaul on September 27.

China is battling a scandal over tainted infant milk formula that has crowded hospitals with close to 13,000 children suffering kidney problems and other complications.

Four have died from the milk poisoning, which a dairy company and local officials did not report to senior officials and to the public for months.

Reuters

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China’s Tainted Milk Victims May Reach 10 Millions

Posted by Author on September 25, 2008


Wen Hua, Epoch Times Staff Sep 23, 2008-

Up to 10 million infants in China may have future complications as a result of drinking contaminated milk powder.

So far, just under 53,000 infants are reported to have been affected, 12,892 hospitalized, 104 critically ill, and four dead.  According to Chinese official reports, a total of 39,965 have recovered after seeking medical treatment.

Since then, Director of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ), Li Changjiang, who also served as an assistant director of the investigation team on the Sanlu baby formula, officially resigned on September 22.

12 Million Infants Take Low-Price Baby Formula

Currently, China’s annual infant birth rate is close to 20 million [1].  Of them, at least half are bottle-fed and brought up on baby milk powder formula—according to a Voice of America radio report [2].

Out of China’s population of 1.3 billion people, 800 millions (61.5 percent) are peasants or farmers who usually buy low-price milk products.  If that is correct, 12 million babies in rural China consume low-price baby formulas, and therefore are potential victims of tainted baby formula.

Majority of Domestic Baby Formula Contaminated

According to a report published by the GAQSIQ on September 16, melamine was found in baby formulas produced by 22 dairy companies, the majority producing baby-formulas for the domestic market. Currently, there are 154 dairy companies in China; most of them that produce baby formula have been blacklisted.

According to a report by state-owned press, Xinhua Net, China’s Ministry of Health held a confidential national video conference on September 19 [3]. The meeting revealed that dairy companies had been adding melamine to adjust the texture, thickness, and flavor of milk powder. However, they have managed to control the correct ratio of melamine and have not treated the toxic chemical as being a concern.

This scenario is very similar to previous food safety scandals involving detergents being added to the Chinese popular food, deep-fried dough sticks, and formaldehyde being added to pork skins.  Though they would not cause immediate death, there is an undetectable, chronic toxicity.

At least Six Millions Victims

According to a report by Ming Pao Daily News, there are imported and domestic baby formulas in China’s dairy market [4]. Domestic baby formulas accounts for 54 percent of low-price baby-formula market and both the imported and domestic baby formula have equal market shares in the middle and high end bracket.

So, of 12 million babies born in rural China who consume baby formula, 54 percent of them, or 6.48 million, would purchase the lower priced domestic powder milk.

One Chinese doctor posted a comment on the Internet on September 21, “In Hebei Province, 3.6 percent of tested children had developed kidney stones, whereas Guangdong Province has about 2.2 percent. Of the 30 million children in our country, five to 10 million will develop kidney stones. Some have not shown any symptoms. Those with kidney damage and blood in urine have not been officially included in the report yet. Is this not a national disaster or what?”

High-Ranking Official Commit Suicide

Li Changjiang, who recently resigned, initially blamed the Sanlu Group for concealing information, and has emphasized many times, “Like in other countries, the GAQSIQ has never conducted any test on detecting toxic chemicals like melamine in food products since these toxic chemicals are not allowed to be added to food products,” implying that the GAQSIQ should not be held responsible for the milk scandal.

Noticeably, on the day when the Sanlu Group reported to Chinese government that toxic melamine had been found in their baby formula, a senior official of the GAQSIQ, Wu Jianping, committed suicide by jumping out of a building.

Studies have shown that melamine can lead to infertility and bladder cancer.

The impact 20 years later when those who have survived kidney stones get married and realize that they cannot have babies at all would be devastating for Chinese parents who are only allowed to have a single child

– Original: The Epochtimes

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Nearly 13,000 infants in hospital as China milk scandal grows

Posted by Author on September 23, 2008


By Chris Buckley, Reuters, Mon Sep 22, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – The number of Chinese infants sick in hospital after drinking tainted milk formula doubled to nearly 13,000 and the country’s top quality regulator resigned on Monday in the latest blight on the “made-in-China” brand.

Four deaths have been blamed on the toxic milk powder, which causes kidney stones and agonizing complications, and a string of Asian countries have banned or recalled Chinese milk products……. (more from Reuters)

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Book “Reclaiming stolen lives”: enforced disappearance in Asia including China

Posted by Author on September 22, 2008


By Erlinda Timbreza-Valerio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 09/21/2008-

(Editor’s Note: Thirty-six years ago today, Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Thousands fell victim to his regime. The victims include people whose remains have not been found. The recent launching of the book “Reclaiming Stolen Lives” highlights the gravity of enforced disappearances not only in the Philippines but also in seven other countries in Asia.)

MANILA, Philippines—Jeng was three years old when his father was seized in the Philippines by government forces in 1985. “Even if tatay (father) is already dead, he should come home,” Jeng says.

Basila, a 9-year-old girl in Pakistan, smiles as she dresses up her doll with multicolored pieces of paper. She says though that her dream is for her father to come home and once again take his seat at the dining table.

Parvina, a middle-age mother in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, says in pain and anger that since her young son disappeared, she has searched for him amid the repression and threats to her own life by the Indian security forces and state police.

Public issue

Angkhana Neelapaijit, wife of the recently disappeared Somchai, a human rights lawyer in Thailand, says, “I don’t want it to be believed that forced disappearance is a personal matter; it is actually a public issue that everyone must pay attention to.”

Jeng, Basila, Parvina and Angkhana are among the hundreds of thousands of family members of the disappeared on the Asian continent. Their experience of having a disappeared loved one has brought them together along with other family members from some countries in South and Southeast Asia through the founding of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (Afad) in 1998 in the Philippines.

Society’s conscience

These families—wives, children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of the disappeared—show that the Asian culture is a deeply wounded one that needs to be healed. Their existence also serves as “society’s conscience” and an indelible proof that disappeared victims once lived in certain locations and had their own names, faces, families and homes.

“Reclaiming Stolen Lives,” an Afad publication, is a book that helps society remember the past. Painful as it is (but the truth liberates, too!), it speaks of the gravity of the phenomenon of enforced or involuntary disappearance in China, India (Jammu and Kashmir), Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

UN Convention

The book highlights the need for the signing and ratification of the UN Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and for the enactment of a corresponding local law. The countries’ unique developments are parts of our shared history as Asians.

In many Asian countries, anyone can become a desaparecido (disappeared person). Thus, it is urgent to have a UN Convention with a corresponding local legislation to protect all persons from this cruel human rights violation.

Article 2 of the UN Convention defines enforced disappearance as follows: “For the purposes of this Convention, enforced disappearance is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”

Social volcano

In the Philippines, the first case of recorded enforced disappearance was the abduction on March 19, 1971 of Carlos “Charlie” del Rosario, secretary general of the Kabataang Makabayan.

Describing the Philippines as a country sitting on top of a “social volcano,” Marcos declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.

As the Marcos regime tightened its grip, student activists, union organizers, peasant organizers and rural folks disappeared. These occurred in the ’70s and early ’80s—a time when the country was experiencing severe economic hardships marked by the devaluation of the peso and the ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor. People began agitating in the streets, calling for the end to the Marcos regime.

Disappearances also happened in the Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo administrations. The Arroyo administration is in “state of denial in terms of the human rights situation and economic crisis in the country today,” says the book.

In China, Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing, became the site of the June 1989 massacre of protesters, which also resulted in the disappearance of young students. The bereaved mothers were not even allowed to mourn in public, but Ding Zilin along with some of her fellow mothers founded an organization called “The Tiananmen Mothers.”

Cited, too, is the government repression of the Falun Gong, a movement whose members devote themselves to the “cultivation of their inner selves and the improvement of their mental and moral quality.” Massive human rights violations, including disappearances, remain unresolved in the country…….

(more details from The Inquirer)

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4th death reported in China milk scandal: govt

Posted by Author on September 18, 2008


AFP, Sep. 18, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — One person has died in northwestern China from consuming tainted milk powder, a government website said on Thursday, the fourth death reported so far in the mounting scandal.

A notice on the Xinjiang regional government’s website said the death occurred in the prefecture of Bazhou, but gave no other details such as whether the person was a baby.

The latest reported fatality adds to three deaths confirmed on Wednesday by China’s Health Minister Chen Zhu, who also said more than 6,000 babies had fallen ill.

The three deaths were due to kidney failure after drinking milk powder contaminated with melamine.

Melamine, a chemical normally used in plastics, was illegally mixed into milk products and has made its way into the baby formula of 22 Chinese dairy companies.

Six people have been arrested, five of whom were involved in adding melamine to milk, the official Xinhua’s news agency has said.

The government has announced a massive recall of tainted products and launched comprehensive nationwide tests for melamine throughout the agricultural sector and not just the dairy industry.

– Original: AFP

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China finds 22 companies produce tainted baby milk: state media

Posted by Author on September 18, 2008


AFP, Sep 17, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese officials have found 22 companies produced baby milk tainted with a toxic chemical, state media said Tuesday, in a dramatic escalation of a scandal that has left two infants dead.

Milk powder contaminated with a chemical used to make plastics has sickened more than 1,200 infants in a health scare that erupted last week and prompted a nationwide investigation into the extent of the problem.

The contamination was originally thought contained to the Sanlu brand, with the company apologising on Monday for the scandal.

But state-run CCTV said Tuesday night that more products have been discovered with the chemical melamine, and that all, including the powder made by Sanlu, have been pulled from shelves.

“In order to ensure the safety of the milk products, the relevant government departments have pulled them from shelves, sealed them, recalled them and destroyed them,” CCTV said in its report.

The State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said tests on products from all 109 baby milk companies in China showed varying traces of melamine in 69 batches from 22 companies, Xinhua news agency said.

In an indication, meanwhile, that markets outside mainland China could be affected, a Hong Kong supermarket chain on Tuesday recalled a yogurt ice bar found to contain melamine.

The Wellcome chain said the product was the Yili Natural Choice Yogurt Ice-bar. Yili is a dairy manufacturer in China’s Inner Mongolia region.

The scandal is the latest to rock China’s food industry, which has been tarnished by a series of health scares over dangerous products, including those to export markets, in recent years.

China’s top product-quality watchdog would dispatch inspectors to all milk-product manufacturers to contain the spreading health threat, CCTV said.

The moves were meant to “uncover the causes, pursue those responsible and severely deal with them in accordance with the law,” it said.

The government has said milk collectors, who gather milk from dairy farmers, deliberately added melamine to make it appear the milk had more protein.

Sanlu, however, had blamed dairy farmers.

Police have arrested four suspects, at least two of which have admitted adding melamine to milk, according to state press, in reports that warned more sick babies were expected to be reported.

The 22 companies mentioned by CCTV included Torador Dairy Industry, a China-Australia joint venture in the northern city of Tianjian. Calls to Torador on Tuesday evening went unanswered.

They also included Guangdong Yashili Group, the report said, which exports its products to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Yemen.

However, it said tests of Yashili export products showed no melamine traces. The report made no further mention of possible contamination of exports.

Melamine, which is used for making plastics and glues, is being blamed for causing kidney stones in the affected babies, a condition normally rare in infants, but which gives rise to a range of health risks.

The two infant deaths occurred in May and July, the health ministry said. Read the rest of this entry »

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China: Delayed Report of Tainted Milk Powder Formula Linked to Olympics?

Posted by Author on September 16, 2008


By Xin Fei and Feng Yiran, Epoch Times Staff Sep 15, 2008 –

In the midst of last week’s recall of a tainted baby formula product manufactured by China’s largest dairy producer, questions are being raised as to whether China’s government knew of the problem weeks earlier, and suppressed public knowledge of the poisoning in the leadup to the Beijing Olympics.

The product, a powdered-milk formula manufactured by Sanlu, has caused illness in 432 babies, kidney stones in more than a hundred infants, and two infant deaths, according to China’s state-run media. Batches of formula were found to be contaminated with melamine, a chemical often associated with the manufacture of plastics.

According to Chinese media, in March 2008, some consumers had already reported a problem with Sanlu tainted milk powder to China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

New Zealand’s Fonterra Farmer’s Cooperative, a joint venture partner holding 43 percent stock in Sanlu Group, found out about the contamination and reported to the group’s board August 2—six days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony—and requested more than once that Sanlu immediately recall the contaminated formula, but were denied by local Chinese authorities.

“We together with Sanlu have done everything that we possibly could to get the product off the shelf,” Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier stated, as reported by AFP.

“We as a minority shareholder had to continue to push Sanlu. Sanlu had to work with their own government to follow the procedures that they were given,” he added.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, contacted by Fonterra Sept. 5, became directly involved in the exposure and suspension of sales of the tainted formula, contacting Beijing authorities.

Leading up to the Beijing Olympics, China’s communist regime issued a list of 21 topics banned from Chinese media—eight of which dealt with food safety scandals.

Connection With Beijing Olympics

The “People’s Net” (www.people.com.cn ) reported that journalists were asked Sept. 13 whether Chinese authorities delayed reporting this incident on purpose due to the simultaneous occurance of the Beijing Olympics, since this problem had been discovered before the Olympic Games.

Gao Qiang, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health replied, “It is true that the government of Hebei Province only received the report from Shijiazhuang City government on September 8. On the same day, the provincial government had already started to investigate on this case.”

Gao continued, “I think their reactions to this incident was pretty fast, it has nothing to do with the Olympic Games.”

Ms. Han from Gansu Province, where most of the baby cases had been reported, said that it can’t be forgiven if someone delays reporting the information of tainted baby formula because of political or economical reasons, nor could it be understood or accepted.

“How stupid it is!” Ms. Han states. “I think it should not be that way. Just think about it, those are all lives. They are our kids—the next generation. How could someone do something like that? I was frightened and also very mad when I heard about it.”

As to why authorities and the manufacturer announced the incident over one month after the fact, a Mr. Li from the Sichuan earthquake disaster area said that as a consumer, he also can’t accept a delay on reporting the incident regardless if it had anything to do with the Olympic Games.

Food Safety Problem

According to a Sept. 13 report from China’s state-run media Xinhua.net, starting from March 2008, Sanlu had continually received complaints from consumers suffering from urinary problems. Simultaneously, the Sanlu Group conducted an internal investigation, the scope of which covered children who had consumed the product, the quality of their products and milk suppliers.  In July, kidney stone cases were found in Guangdong Province, with questions arising about the quality of Sanlu formula.

During the same month, more parents from Changsha, Nanjing, and Beijing submitted complaints. Xinhua’s report claimed that Sanlu group had taken some actions, including the recall of products from supermarkets and the sealing up of products in storage.

In March 2007 in the U.S., a large number of dogs and cats died from eating pet food imported from two Chinese manufacturers in Jiangsu and Shandong provinces. Soon after, it was revealed that melamine was added in some of wheat protein powders and rice protein powders imported from China. The Chinese government arrested several Chinese people and the incident was then silenced.

The U.S. government subsequently asked to inspect relted pet food manufacturing sites, but only saw wrecked factory buildings demolished by bulldozers.

A unique feature of melamine (C3H6N6) is its high nitrogen content which can be up to 66 percent. In plant or grain protein-based animal feeds, adding 1 percent melamine can increase measured protein content by 4 percent, at very little cost.

Mr. Liao Xinbo, vice director of the Health Department in Guangdong, said in his article published Sept. 13, “I think hundreds of millions of Chinese people, without knowing it, have been eating pork, beef and chicken which are fed with melamine-tainted feeds. [They have also been] drinking adult milk powders with the melamine added for many years. Unknowingly, everyone has been contaminated with melamine.”

“The Sanlu scandal reflects that the problem of food safety in China is very serious. We are not sure if there is anything we can eat safely.” Liao added.

One Sanlu staff member admitted to a Xinhua reporter, “This is a ‘soft rib’ in the entire industry. Unfortunately, it was Sanlu who was caught this time.”

– Original: The Epochtimes

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