China’s official communist state media Xinhua has taken a turn at distorting the trial of Sanlu Dairy executive Tian Wenhua.
Manipualtion of media reports coming out of China is normal but in this case it appears both the press reports and the trial itself are “rigged.”
It isn’t even clear if Tian Wenhua pleaded guilty or not guity to charges she was aware her comapany was illegally adding the poison melamine to milk and other dairy products.
And it isn’t clear that adding melamine to food products was illegal in China.
Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sold melamine said, “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”
Ji Denghui made that statement in 2007 to New York Times reporters David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo.
Barboza and Barrionuevo concluded that the use of melamine in food in China was so widespread that it was an “open secret.” In fact, our sources and our own experience tell us that the use of melamine in food in China was “normal” in China for years and perhaps decades….
All we know for sure about the current trial is this: at least six children died as a result of poisoned milk products in China and hundreds were sickened, inside China and elsewhere by exported Chinese products. China has said this evil was the result of wrongdoing on the part of food industry workers — but there is widespread evidence that the poison melamine was used in food products and other orally ingested products like toothpaste for years or decades prior to this trial…with the full knowledge of Chinese government officials.
John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
China: Dead Children, Kangaroo Court, Punishment for the Innocent
Above: Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, enters a courthouse in China. Photo: Ding Lixin / Associated Press
From Stuff.com (New Zealand)
Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier has taken a step back in the confusing picture of the trial of former head of the Sanlu dairy company over the contaminated milk scandal in China.
State-run Xinhua news agency said yesterday that Tian Wenhua, 66-year-old former general manager of the now bankrupt Sanlu Group, pleaded guilty to charges of “producing and selling fake or substandard products”.
Fonterra had a 43 per cent share in Sanlu.
Mr Ferrier said last night he had heard conflicting reports from the trial of Tian’s trial, The New Zealand Herald reported.
But another company spokesman later contacted the Herald to say Tian had “absolutely and unequivocally” pleaded not guilty to the charges she faced.
The tainted product resulted in the deaths of six babies and illness of nearly 300,000 others earlier this year.
Tian appeared with three other company executives at a court in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern Hebei province. No verdict was announced, and it was unclear whether they could face the death penalty, or life imprisonment.
Fonterra had been under the impression yesterday that Tian had pleaded not guilty, Mr Ferrier said today.
“However there were other reports that she had pleaded guilty.
“Fonterra was not present at the trial. It is not appropriate for Fonterra to make any further comment while the Chinese court is deliberating its verdict,” he said.
Media reported that Tian admitted in court testimony that she had known of problems with the company’s products for two months before she told authorities.
She had submitted a written report on the melamine situation on August 2 – the same date Fonterra was told of the issue.
Mr Ferrier told the Herald any suggestion that Tian knew about it earlier was “absolute news” to his company.
Fonterra was also surprised by charges that Sanlu sold products after it knew they were contaminated.
Mr Ferrier said August 2 was “the absolute first that anybody in Fonterra had ever heard of this and from that moment on we pushed to recall the product”.
Chinese authorities had made no attempt to press charges against Fonterra, which has written off its 43 per cent shareholding in Sanlu for a loss of $210 million.