12/11/2008, 00.00
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Babies and toxic milk: Chinese companies will pay…."maybe"

The health minister confirms he is working on a compensation plan for families with small children affected by the melamine poisoned milk. “Probably” companies responsible for the disaster will pay. Scepticism among lawyers and families of the 294 thousand children struck by kidney stones and urinary tract diseases.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Some of the production companies who caused kidney diseases in over 300 thousand babies will “probably” have to pay compensation to victim’s families.  This according to the Chinese health minister.  Department spokesperson, Mao Qunan, confirms that so far the government has paid for ultra-sounds and medical exams for babies who have kidney stones or “abnormalities in their urinary tract”.  But – he added – there is “a strong possibility that compensation will be paid out by companies held responsible”.

In a press conference yesterday Mao Qunan stated that the ministry for health is working on a “compensation plan” for those families whose small children were poisoned by milk powder containing melamine, but failed to give details.

The sale of products for infants containing melamine provoked a scandal among the Chinese population, for the unscrupulous actions of the implicated production companies (among them Sanlu) and the existing corruption among government representatives, who remained silent for years regarding the poison, despite the fact they had been warned by diverse sources.

The presence of melamine in milk formula for small infants led to the death of 6 new born babies and the illness of a further 294 thousand.

Many families are seeking to bring the responsible companies to trial, but the courts and judges are blocking the presentation of petitions.

Li Fangping, a lawyer who helps families seeking justice, in an interview with Reuters affirms: “Clearly, the government does not want these problems aired in the courts, open to the public”.  Li is also highly sceptical regarding the “compensation plan” being prepared by the government.  “This plan is being developed behind closed doors” he adds, “[Instead] the victims and their lawyers should be involved in setting the rules for compensation”.


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See also
Death penalty, life sentences in tainted milk scandal not enough for families of sick children
Powdered milk causing kidney stones in Chinese children
Chinese government not paying for children sickened by melamine-tainted milk
Melamine found in 12 per cent of tested Chinese milk
Poisoned milk: Wen Jiabao orders inspections of all dairy products and animals


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