Lawyers advising the families of children sickened in China’s tainted milk scandal said Tuesday they are facing growing official pressure to withdraw from the cases.
A loose grouping of more than 100 lawyers across China have been offering free legal advice to the families of children who became ill after drinking milk laced with the industrial chemical melamine, said Chang Boyang, one of the lawyers.
The group already has helped the parents of a 1-year-old boy who developed kidney stones after drinking tainted milk to file a lawsuit against the dairy at the center of the crisis, Sanlu Group Co. The court in Henan province has not yet said whether it will hear the suit, believed to be the first since the scandal broke last month.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that China’s reputation has been so damaged by this scandal that even the Myanmar junta is warning citizens against products from China:
The generals who run Burma, owing to a bloody military assault last year on Buddhist monks and democracy protesters, are sealed off from much of the world by economic sanctions. They increasingly depend on China for everything from military hardware to consumer goods.
Still, the Burmese government has publicized its destruction of 16 tons of Chinese baby food tainted with melamine, the industrial chemical that was mixed with milk products, leading to the deaths in China of four infants, the sickening of more than 54,000 babies and a Chinese government crackdown on 22 dairy companies.
[…] The anomaly of consumer protection in Burma points to the scale and severity of China’s global public-relations disaster in the wake of what appears to have been a long-standing, industrial-scale scheme to adulterate infant formula and other milk products.