The Price of a Scandal

It’s been a while since people were buzzing all over China about milk that had been poisoned with melamine, and the babies who drank it and were killed. Well, the courts haven’t forgotten: today they upheld their death sentence for Geng Jinping, who was convicted of selling over 900 tons of tainted milk to Sanlu. The eight-year prison sentence for Geng Jinzhu was also upheld.

This bodes poorly for the other two appealers, Zhang Yujun and Zhang Yanzhang, whose appeals were scheduled to be heard later in the afternoon (oddly, the top story on Xinhua’s Chinese site appears to be older than the English article, which was last updated before the verdict of those hearings). Zhang Yujun was originally sentenced to death for producing 770 tons of melamine-laced protein powder, and Zhang Yanzhang, the buyer of said powder, was originally sentenced to life in the big house.

At the same time, another court in Hebei agreed to consider a civil lawsuit filed by the parents of a sick child. According to the NY Times,

It was the first time a Chinese court had accepted a lawsuit in the milk scandal […] The court asked the lawyer in the case to pay filing fees but it must still decide whether to hold a trial, a process that could take another month […] Until Wednesday’s decision, Chinese courts had refused even to accept filings related to the milk scandal, and complaints had been sent to administrative courts for mediation. The court’s action appeared to bolster predictions made this month by a Chinese Supreme Court judge and others that courts would agree to hear compensation lawsuits in the milk case.

Not everyone needs to sue, though. People with sick (or dead) babies learned in December that Sanlu and 22 other milk companies were willing to put a price on their grief. Got a sick or dead baby? We’ve created a convenient chart for those who weren’t already aware of the news. On the left is the affliction your child suffered as a result of the tainted milk, on the right is the amount of money you’re entitled to:

  • Death: 200,000 RMB (around $29,000 US)
  • Kidney Stones/”Acute Kidney Failure”: 30,000 RMB (about $4,300 US)
  • Anything Less Serious Than That: 2000 RMB ($285 US)

Is 200,000 RMB really enough to compensate you for the loss of your (only) child? No wonder some folks have decided to take it to court.

In Case You Missed It:
Roland Soong of ESWN has translated some more stuff and offered his own take on our own little race war.
-ChinaSMACK translated a post about Famen temple monks closing the temple to outsiders in protest of walls the government was building to facilitate jacking up prices to visit the historic and bustling temple.
David Bandurski (China Media Project) analyzed whether or not anyone was listening to China’s publicity blitz on Tibet, and Mutant Palm declared there’s no hope of China creating its own Al-Jazeera.

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