News 1 commentlast update:6 Aug 2012

Death penalty in melamine scandal

Two men have been given the death penalty for their involvement in China's contaminated milk scandal. The former boss of the Sanlu dairy at the centre of the scandal was given life imprisonment. They are among 21 sentences being handed down by the court in northern China, where Sanlu is based.

One of the most eagerly-awaited sentences was that of Tian Wenhua, who was chairwoman of the Sanlu Group, the largest producer of baby milk powder. She had already pleaded guilty to charges of producing and selling fake or substandard produce, and was given a life sentence by the Intermediate People's Court in Shijiazhuang.

Earlier the court sentenced Zhang Yujun and Geng Jinping to death. Zhang Yujun was accused of running an illegal workshop in Shandong province in eastern China, producing 600 tonnes of the fake protein powder - the largest source of melamine in the country. He was sentenced along with Zhang Yanzhang - accused of selling on Zhang Yujun's protein powder - who was given a life sentence. Milk producer, Geng Jinping had been convicted of producing and selling toxic food to dairy companies.

The scandal, in which melamine was added to raw milk to make it appear higher in protein, led to the deaths of six babies and made some 300,000 ill. See below the timeline of the scandal.

10 Sept: 14 babies reported ill in Gansu province
15 Sept: Beijing confirms first deaths from the contamination
22 Sept: Toll of ill babies rises to tens of thousands - and eventually will rise to almost 300,000
23 Sept: Other countries start to test Chinese dairy products or remove them from shops
31 Oct: Chinese media suggest melamine is routinely added to animal feed
24 Dec: The main dairy firm involved, Sanlu, is declared bankrupt
31 Dec: Four senior Sanlu executives go on trial
2 Jan: Firms involved ask for forgiveness in a mass New Year text message
22 Jan: A court in China begins handing down sentences

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    The reason the woman is not shot is she has corrupt official friends in her province. After the storm is over they will let her go silently. The corrupt officials are as guilty as the factory bosses, and shoul be shot too. What a dirty bastards!

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