China Dairy Boss Pleads Guilty in Melamine Case
The trial of the chairwoman of the now bankrupt Sunlu Group, a Chinese company at the centre of the tainted milk scandal, started today. Sixty-six year old Tian Wenhua has pleaded guilty to charges of "producing and selling fake or substandard products," state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Tian appeared with three other company executives at a court in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern Hebei province. It was unclear whether they could face the death penalty.
"(Tian) may face a maximum penalty of death for producing and selling contaminated baby milk food, along with three of her senior managers at the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court," the official China Daily said on Wednesday.
Tian told the court on Wednesday she learned about the tainted milk complaints from consumers in mid-May, Xinhua quoted her as saying.
The company set up a working team led by Tian to handle the case, but did not submit a written report about the milk powder to the Shijiazhuang city government until August 2, Tian said.
The Shijiazhuang government did not report the case to higher government authorities until a month later, prompting speculation authorities sought to avoid a scandal upsetting Beijing's Olympic Games in August.
The 'Made-in-China' brand has been tarnished repeatedly in recent years as Chinese consumer goods and food have been recalled around the world after being found to be unsafe.
Previous NP coverage:
Chinese Dairy Bankrupt after Tainted Milk Scandal
Infant formula from China contaminated
China's Tox Milk Update: More Recalls and Bans