A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

China dairy executive appeals life sentence in contaminated milk scandal

[JURIST] Former Sanlu Group [Research and Markets profile] chairwoman Tian Wenhua [Xinhua profile] on Sunday appealed the life sentence [JURIST report] she received after pleading guilty [JURIST report] to charges in China's tainted milk scandal [JURIST news archive]. Tian's lawyer claims it was not his client who decided to sell milk with higher levels of melamine [FDA backgrounder], but a board member tabbed by New Zealand dairy firm Fonterra, which held a large share in Sanlu Group. Tian's appeal to the Higher People's Court of Hebei Province asserts that the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court lacked evidence to support a conviction [Xinhua report] for manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products.

In December 2008, a court ordered at-fault dairy companies to pay $160 million [JURIST report] in compensation to the victims' families. In January, lawyers for the families of 213 Chinese children sickened or killed by the contaminated milk petitioned [JURIST report] the Supreme People's Court [official website, in Mandarin], China's highest court, to hear a class action lawsuit against 22 dairy companies involved in the contamination, seeking more than $5 million in damages. Early last month, police in China detained five parents [JURIST report] of children who became sick after drinking melamine-tainted milk, preventing the parents from participating in a news conference.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.