Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

China milk scandal terms upheld

Chinese babies waiting to be checked by medical staff (file photo)
Tainted baby milk made thousands of Chinese children ill

A court has upheld the sentences of five people convicted over a milk contamination scandal in China.

The ex-head of China's largest milk firm lost her appeal against a life sentence for selling hundreds of tonnes of milk laced with a toxic chemical.

Six babies died and more than 300,000 children were left ill after ingesting melamine, which was added to enhance the milk's apparent protein level.

Two people face the death penalty, one a life term and another eight years.

State media said a court in Hebei Province rejected the appeal by Tian Wenhua, the former chairwoman of now-defunct Sanlu Group, at the centre of the dairy contamination.

The 66-year-old was the highest-ranking executive charged over the scandal.

According to state media, the court also upheld a death sentence against Zhang Yujun, convicted of producing and selling the tainted milk, and a life sentence against Zhang Yanzhang, who acted as a middle man in supplying the toxic product to dairies.

Supreme court

Earlier, the death sentence was upheld against Geng Jinping, who managed a milk production centre and was found guilty of supplying milk containing melamine to dairies.

His brother Geng Jinzhu, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role, also had his appeal turned down.

In a separate case, a Chinese court has agreed to hear the first civil claim for compensation against Sanlu.

A number of parents have rejected a government-sponsored compensation scheme, saying it is inadequate, and does not address the long-term health risks resulting from the poisoning.

Print Sponsor


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific