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China lawyers proceeding with class action lawsuit over tainted milk

[JURIST] Lawyers providing legal services to at least 100 Chinese children sickened by tainted milk products [BBC report] have decided to continue with a class action lawsuit against government-owned dairy farm Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., the focus of recalls following the scandal, according to Thursday media reports. Lawyers providing free legal support for families had said last month [JURIST report] they had been pressured by Chinese officials to stop providing legal services to the families and leave the "political issue" to government authorities. The lawyers have discussed legal options for several weeks, and on Thursday decided to continue with the class action lawsuit, which seeks damages for medical care and trauma and compensation for families with children who have died as a result of the contamination. AP has more.

News of possible milk powder contamination by the chemical melamine first broke in September [Guardian report], following the death of an infant and reports that at least 50 other infants had fallen ill after consuming baby formula, leading to massive recalls [BBC report] of both liquid milk products and milk powders. The death toll soon rose to four, and the number of sick infants in China [JURIST news archive] later ballooned into the tens of thousands. As of Wednesday, nearly 1,300 infants remained hospitalized [China Daily report] as a result of the contamination. So far, police have arrested at least 36 people [AFP report] in connection with the scandal.

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