China A Chinese court sentenced two men to death and a dairy boss to life in prison Thursday for their roles in producing and selling infant formula tainted with melamine, a deadly industrial chemical added to watered-down milk in order to fool inspectors and increase profits.
The swift trial and harsh sentences show Beijing’s resolve in tackling the country’s stubborn food safety problems and an eagerness by the communist leadership to move past the embarrassing scandal.
With six babies confirmed dead and some 300,000 others nationwide suffering kidney stones and other problems from drinking melamine-laced formula, public shock has turned to simmering anger since the contamination was exposed in September.
That fury has been further stoked by reports of an apparent cover-up by companies involved and safety officials ignoring tips and warnings from parents and doctors. Many Chinese are suspicious that high-level pressures for a successful Beijing Olympics in August made people aware of the crisis afraid to speak out, even as babies were dying.