Parents of Tainted Milk Victims Arrested After Commemorative Activities
Parents of child victims of poisoned milk powder were arrested during commemorative activities in China, after the Beijing Public Security Bureau chief reneged on his personal approval for parents to participate in the activities.
Sept. 11 2009 marked the one-year anniversary of the Sanlu melamine-tainted milk scandal in which exposure to melamine-contaminated milk powder caused thousands of babies to develop kidney stones. The parents had gathered in memory of the scandal.
The event was held at the home of Zhao Lianhai, an activist who started the Web site jieshibaobao.com which provides a forum for parents of affected children to share information. His 3-year-old son developed kidney stones last year from drinking the poisoned milk.
Two of the parents, Zhou Jinzhong and Xiang Qingyu, were arrested at noon on Sept. 12 by plainclothes police who came to Zhao's door.
Guo Caihong, a parent who had attended a previous ceremony, received phone calls from both the local neighborhood committee and the police station telling her they would provide a ride for her following the event. Guo, a victim of polio, has difficulty walking. Soon after she got into the police car she called her friend, but only managed to say that the police were not taking her home, but rather to the police station, before the call was cut off.
The event organizer Zhao Lianhai could not be reached via his home or cell phone on Sept. 12.
Zhao had previously expressed his appreciation to the regime for allowing them to hold the commemorative activities smoothly during a phone interview the night of Sept. 11, before the arrests took place.
Because the activities were being held in Beijing, authorities feared public exposure, someone familiar with the case told The Epoch Times. “Zhao had already notified many media outlets, so the officials let them hold the ceremony. The arrest of the parents the next day, however, was a clear signal to other parents, telling them that the government is really not going to be that lenient,” the person said.
One year ago, melamine-tainted Sanlu brand milk powder became an international scandal, triggering a storm throughout the milk industry in China. At the time it was a common illicit practice in China to use melamine to artificially boost the meaure of protein levels in milk products.
Chinese authorities have admitted that there were six deaths related to exposure to the poisonous milk powder, and that 300,000 were sickened. These are minimum figures.
Read the original Chinese article.