China puts toxic baby milk man on trial
A criminal trial of the former chairman of Sanlu, the company behind China’s toxic baby milk crisis, has begun.
Geng Jinping appeared in court in Shijiazhuang, the northern Chinese city where Sanlu was based.
Along with three other colleagues, he was charged with selling fake or substandard products and could face life imprisonment.
This is not a severe enough penalty, according to some critics, for a scandal that killed at least six infants, and sickened a further 300,000.
Families of the victims gathered at court to voice their opinions. ‘They should execute them all,’ shouted Hua Lian, a 45-year-old woman.
‘They have to deal with these people harshly. Otherwise people will never learn.’
In September, it emerged that Sanlu had sold baby formula ‘bulked up’ with melamine, an industrial chemical more commonly found in plastics.
Adding melamine to watered-down milk makes it seem richer in protein.
However, it also triggers the formation of potentially fatal kidney stones and crystals.
Subsequent tests found that, nationwide, 22 dairy companies were found to have sold adulterated milk.
The government has ordered the companies to pay £110 million in compensation, although Sanlu has since gone into liquidation, raising doubts about its ability to come up with the cash.
The four Sanlu executives are the highest profile figures to go to court, after 17 people – mostly middlemen accused of selling the milk – recently went on trial.
No verdicts have yet been announced.