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China police formally arrest tainted milk scandal activist

[JURIST] Beijing police issued a formal arrest warrant Monday for a man who organized a website for parents whose children became ill from drinking tainted milk [JURIST news archive] last year. Zhao Lianhai has been charged [Reuters report] with picking quarrels and provoking trouble. Zhao's website, "Kidney Stone Babies" [advocacy website, in Chinese], furnishes information and resources for parents whose children were sickened or killed by melamine-tainted milk. Zhao's own four-year-old son became sick after consuming milk containing melamine, which is used in plastics and fertilizer production. Zhao was detained [NYT report] November 13, but his wife did not receive the formalized warrant for his arrest until Monday. Zhao has been held at the Daxing District Police Station since his detention. Amnesty International has expressed concern [press release] over Zhao's detention, stating that Zhao is "at risk" for torture.

Chinese courts began hearing [JURIST report] tainted milk suits in late November, after families began filing individual claims. China's Hebei Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] out the possibility of initiating a class action lawsuit on behalf of the contaminated milk victims last year. Last month, a Chinese court sentenced [JURIST report] two men to death for their roles in the scandal. A Chinese court in February declared Sanlu Group, the Chinese company that produced the melamine-tainted milk, bankrupt [JURIST report].

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