China Dairy Manager on Trial for Milk Scandal (Updated with Video)
Tian Wenhua, former board chairwoman and general manager of Sanlu Group Co., and three other top executives who also went on trial Wednesday could face the death penalty if convicted.
The high-profile trials and the release of details in a 1.1 billion yuan ($160 million) compensation plan signal that authorities hope to end what was widely seen as a national disgrace, highlighting widespread food safety problems and corporate and official malfeasance.
[...] Seventeen others have gone on trial over past few days with at least four facing the death penalty, Xinhua has said. The defendants included people accused of producing melamine and marketing it to milk producers, as well as milk collectors who mixed the chemical into raw milk sold to major dairies.
A Xinhua report gives a few more details of the trial, including the fact that one of the defendants arrived in a wheel chair after an apparent suicide attempt. Xinhua also says the defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison, not execution. From their report:
The four defendants were arrested on Sept. 26.
Tian told the court that she learned about the tainted milk complaints from consumers in mid-May, and then the company set up a working team led by her to handle the case.
Sanlu Group submitted a written report about the problematic milk powder to the Shijiazhuang city government on August 2, she said.
Read CDT’s coverage of the tainted milk scandal here.
Update: Tian Wenhua pleaded guilty to the charges against her, according to the New York Times, which has more details about the trial.