Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Milking more Sympathy

Chinese dairy companies are trying to score brownie points with the public by apologizing on text messages via cellphones.

"We are deeply sorry for the harm caused to the children and the society. We sincerely apologize for that and we beg for your forgiveness."

The message added there was a compensation fund set up for the victims, including the families of thousands of babies who have urinary tract problems after drinking powdered milk contaminated with melamine.

However, many of the families were not impressed after finding out the financial compensation only amounted to about 2,000RMB or $292.64 each.

How does less than $300 per family even begin to help them pay for medical bills that are over 10 times that amount, let alone those parents who have lost their only child after drinking milk they thought would help them become healthy and strong?

Some of the families outraged by the pitiful amount are pushing for a class action lawsuit, but it's still not sure if the courts, who are under the central government, will listen to the case which would be unprecedented.

Meanwhile, the government is trying to look like it's taking control of the scandal by arresting and putting on trial those they claim are responsible for putting melamine, or know about the chemical being added to the milk.

The chairwoman of Sanlu, Tian Wenhua pleaded guilty to selling fake or substandard products at a trial in Hebei Province.

There was speculation that she would be executed for her part in the scandal, but now the court is mulling over giving her a life sentence instead.

Seventeen other people involved in producing, buying, selling and adding melamine to milk have also gone to trial.

The government can try to do all it can to give the appearance of punishing the guilty, but why not give parents justice rather than trying to hush them up?

They like the parents of children who died in the Sichuan earthquake want more. They don't just want compensation. They want the truth.

There is no price for that.

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