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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 22:43 GMT 23:43 UK
China jails two over deadly milk
Child victim of the baby milk scandal, shown on Chinese TV
Babies reportedly starved after drinking milk from the powder
Two Chinese officials have been jailed for failing to prevent the sale of fake milk powder that caused the deaths of at least 13 babies, state media said.

Xinhua news agency said Bai Quixiang was sentenced to two-and-a-half years and Li Tingjun was given a two-year sentence for dereliction of duty.

The convictions came a week after two men who sold the powder were jailed.

The government says the babies starved after drinking the milk, while media reports say as many as 50 babies died.

The latest sentences were handed to two former officials with the administration of industry and commerce in the city of Fuyang.

They had failed to investigate or take necessary action after receiving a complaint from a resident whose daughter had died from drinking fake milk powder, Reuters quoted Xinhua as saying.

Chinese authorities have also ordered 54 producers of sub-standard milk powder to close, Xinhua said.


At least 47 people have been arrested in connection with the scandal in the eastern province of Anhui.

Investigators uncovered more than 100 factories making bogus formula, consisting mostly of starch and water.

The milk had no nutritional value, so some of the babies who drank it died of starvation.

Correspondents say the emerging picture is of corrupt officials conniving with unscrupulous factory owners to continue selling the bogus powder, even though they had received complaints about it from parents of the infant victims.

The case highlights China's woeful food safety standards, and has triggered a stream of reports about other harmful foods, like fake soy sauce and vegetables pickled in industrial salt.

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