Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

China voices: 'This is justice'

A Chinese court handed two men the death penalty and gave life imprisonment to a former dairy boss for their involvement in China's contaminated milk scandal.

The addition of melamine to raw milk led to the deaths of six babies and made 300,000 ill.

Here, people across China give their reaction to the sentences.


Grace Yuan
The death penalty is as big a deal for Chinese people as it is for the British.

But melamine in milk caused several children to die. Those involved in the scandal deserved to be punished. It is also a warning to anybody else in the food industry.

I know it is unacceptable for people in western countries to hear about the death penalty, but China has a different situation. The country has to stay safe and peaceful. China also seldom hands out the death penalty to the wrong people.

I think the government handled the issue well. It was a smooth and strict response. I think the BBC exaggerated the importance of the melamine issue. In China, government seldom advertises scandals or crimes. The government has more important things to do.

I am not too worried about other Chinese producers. They are not absolutely trusted but the melamine contamination didn't affect me or my relatives greatly.


Maggie Li
I think that now the sentences have been passed, people will be appeased.

I feel they deserve what they got but I'm not sure of the truth of the matter.

What is clear is somebody should take responsibility for this incident. Here in China, there are so many different kinds of products that are of very bad quality.

People should be punished as a warning to the others. China is still developing. There are so many people who don't live by the rule of law. They try to take advantage of people's ignorance, maximising profits and selling goods of inferior quality.

I do not know people directly affected by this scandal but there are many brands of milk now banned from production. I always make sure the milk I drink passes quality inspections.

Until now, those who take advantage of people like this haven't been punished. This was a big scandal and people were exposed to real danger.


My child was drinking local milk at that time so I felt affected. The crime of covering up a problem that was going to cause babies to get sick and die is a terrible one.

It seems that the information was kept back at quite a senior level and this would almost certainly have caused the deaths of some babies
The problem was so widespread and endemic I can't believe it happened without an awful lot of people at all kinds of levels being involved.

So I guess it deserves harsh punishment although it strikes me that these people are being made scapegoats. They probably do have a level of responsibility.

But what I'd like to see is some very senior people making personal apologies and a few people resigning from their jobs to show that it is taken seriously at the very top of government. Almost every dairy had the problem.

And the timing is suspect. It came out during the last week of the Paralympics. It seems that the information was kept back at quite a senior level and this would almost certainly have caused the deaths of some babies.

There should be harsh punishment but I don't agree with the death penalty.

We've been drinking a brand of milk which is supposedly safe but the worry is there on a whole range of issues. Can you trust the food and supply chain in China? It makes you worry.

There is a constant level of stress, particularly if you have small children.


Phillip Chow
I agree totally with the punishment. This is justice. The death penalty for those who killed many children.

These people took a big risk with people's lives. Parents have lost children and they can't stand their broken hearts. So the sentence is a just sentence.

And I do think the government handled it correctly - just about. The government has improved, that is true. But I don't think the government handled it well. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good.

I always doubt the government. I know how Chinese policy works and there are corrupt officials. I always have doubts about it.

As a result, I was always sceptical about Chinese producers. When my baby was small I never just bought stuff from the supermarket without checking the product was secure. The majority of Chinese people just accept things though.


I think the government, despite a few minor things, have done a pretty good job.

I think the sentences are perfectly acceptable considering that this country does have the death penalty. These people are guilty of crimes and should pay whatever the price handed down.

Now when I go to the supermarket they put signs up in the dairy cabinet saying the milk is safe and that they don't contain melamine. I'm happy with that. But I was worried last year when my child was drinking milk during the crisis.

But I'm concerned about other products. After all, they found melamine in crisps! People have been and are still relatively careful about what they purchase but that doesn't stop bad things from happening.

I think it's important some kind of punishment is handed down when people have done the wrong thing. Otherwise there is no deterrent effect. These people must have known they were doing the wrong thing.

They are risking other people's lives and that is not acceptable and they must pay the price.

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