Death sentences in China over baby milk scandal

 Perhaps predictably, the Baby Milk Scandal in China has ended in executions. Two people have been sentenced to death over the scandal, which saw hundreds of thousands of people getting sick and six babies die when milk powder was adulterated with chemicals to make its protein levels appear higher. 

While adulterating baby milk is a pretty scummy thing to do, in my book, it offers no justification for executing people.  Instead the Chinese authorities should look at why this happened in the first place – the lack of openness and free speech that facilitated a cover-up that caused panic across the country. It’s happened before, with the outbreak of the SARS virus covered-up too.

Chinese people are celebrating their New Year right now, and as the Year of the Ox begins – which traditionally encourages people to work hard and shoulder their burdens without complaint – one only hopes that the authorities don’t take the ‘without complaint’ bit too much to heart.

 Earlier this month, legal activist Ji Sizun was sentenced in Fujian Province to three years’ imprisonment for “forging official documents and faking official seals” back in 2006. Amnesty fears that his sentence is politically motivated, and that he is a prisoner of conscience. Ji Sizun had been giving legal advice to local people in Fujian Province and he was detained while applying to protest during the Beijing Olympics, effectively silencing him for the duration of the Games.  

The New Year precipitates a mass migration of people in China back to their home towns, with 200 million people on the move all at once – the BBC’s James Reynolds has (foolishly?) decided to do the trip to and you can read his blog about it here.

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