Thursday, January 22, 2009's what's for breakfast...

SHIJIAZHUANG, China—A Chinese court has handed down a death penalty to a man convicted of endangering public safety in the first sentencing connected with a contaminated milk scandal that shocked the country.

The Intermediate People's Court in Shijiazhuang gave the death sentence to Zhang Yujun. He was convicted of running a workshop that was allegedly China's largest source of melamine, the substance responsible for the health crisis.

A court spokesman said a second man, Zhang Yanzhang, was given a life sentence, also for endangering public safety.

The court is expected to hand down a sentence later Thursday for Tian Wenhua, the general manager of the dairy company at the heart of the scandal.
I can't say I disagree with the verdict and the punishment. According to the Chinese government, six infants died, and hundreds of thousands were sickened by the tained mixture. If we apply the Chinese "truth modifier" formula, the numbers of dead were probably a lot higher, and the number sickened would likely be higher as well.

What I find curious is that no Chinese officials were even included as defendants in the case. Those of you who have had business dealings with "Communist" nations will agree that not much goes on in the business world of such countries that those sitting on the Provincial throne don't know about.

The scandal involving tainted milk broke in September, although Sanlu authorities knew of problems with their company's products months earlier.

Middlemen who sold milk to dairy companies had watered down the raw milk and then mixed it with melamine, which gives an artificially high reading for protein.

Melamine is normally used to make plastics and fertilizer. If ingested in large amounts, it can cause kidney stones and kidney failure.
When a company in China plays a significant role in revenue creation (and therefore contributes significantly to the Chinese GNP) their profits are tracked religiously. The fact that hundreds of thousands were sickened by the milk suggests that this is one of the major dairy entities in that country. So, you know that someone's hand was in the till from the "official bureau of record keeping." How come those folks didn't have to face the music?