China: Free Speech, Poisoned Food, Dead Children

Five parents whose children were sickened by tainted milk have been released by Chinese police after being detained for a day in an apparent move to prevent them from meeting with journalists, a lawyer said Saturday.

The parents were unhappy about a compensation plan made public this week, saying the amounts were too low and the plan was formulated without any input from families.

A group of about 10 parents planned to meet with journalists Friday. But five of the parents, including organizer Zhao Lianhai, were detained Thursday and held at a convention center, said Beijing attorney Xu Zhiyong.

They were released Friday evening after other parents who were not detained managed to meet with a few journalists, said Xu, who is part of a legal team representing 63 families with sickened children.

A newborn baby holds onto his mother's finger at a hospital ... 
A newborn baby holds onto his mother’s finger at a hospital in Beijing. Chinese police have released five parents of children sickened by melamine-tainted milk, a day after detaining them to prevent them holding a press conference, their lawyer has told AFP.(AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)

Zhao, who has a 3-year-old child who fell ill but has since recovered, organized other parents and created a Web site about the contamination, said Li Fangping, another lawyer for some of the parents.

Zhao could not be reached for comment.

Police did not give a specific reason for the detention, Xu said, but he thought it was to prevent the meeting with reporters.

The Communist government, which seeks to control what the public sees and hears, frequently suppresses comments about disasters. Phones in the Beijing police information department rang unanswered Saturday, a public holiday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090103
/ap_on_bi_ge/as_china_tainted_milk_6

Related:
China Serves Hard to Swallow Poison Food Trial for Western “Consumption”
.
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/01/in-c
hina-tainted-milk-trial-kept-under-wraps/

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