Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

In pictures: China's milk scandal

Parents wait for their children to be seen in hospital in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province

The discovery that Chinese milk products had been tainted with the industrial chemical melamine came last September. Within days, long queues of worried parents were forming at hospitals.

Woman checks Sanlu brand milk powder on sale at a supermarket in Shenyang, Liaoning province

The Sanlu firm was the first to admit its products were contaminated with melamine, but other firms soon followed.

A Chinese worker tips away contaminated Mengniu milk after it was recalled in Wuhan, Hubei province

Across China and around the world massive product recalls began. Here milk is tipped away after recall in Hubei province.

Chinese enforcement officers destroy a batch of tainted milk powder in Wuhan, Hubei province on 17 November 2008

Within weeks the scale of the scandal widened, with revelations of contaminated eggs and animal feed. Meanwhile huge batches of milk were destroyed, like this one in Hubei.

Chinese babies in hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province, in September

Nevertheless, the most potent source of the toxin remained milk products - and so children remained the worst affected. Hundreds of thousands were made ill.

Li Xiaoquan holds up a photo of his twin daughters Li Xiaokai and Li Xiaoyan - who died of melamine poisoning - in Liti village, Henan province on 19 October 2008

And six babies died - including nine-month-old twin Li Xiaokai, shown on the right in a photo held by her father.

Geng Jinping, left, manager of a milk production base, and Geng Jinzhu, right, a driver at the base, stand trial at the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, on 30 December 2008

In late December, the first trials of suspects began - resulting in sentences including the death penalty. Here a production base and manager and driver stand trial.

A group of tearful parents, including Jiang Yalin, call for urgent research into the long-term effects of the chemical during a media briefing held on a Beijing pavement on 2 January 2009

But many parents remained unsatisfied - some demanding better compensation and others more research into melamine's effects. Observers note their willingness to defy authorities and speak out.

The grandmother of a baby who died after drinking tainted milk cries outside the court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, on 22 January 2009

The convictions of several people involved in the scandal will go some way to calming public outrage. But they will come as little solace to the relatives of those who died.

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