China Food Safety Activist Given 2 1/2 Years

Zhao Lianhai, a father whose child developed kidney stones from drinking melamine-tainted formula, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on charges of “causing a serious disturbance” for his efforts to organize parents of melamine victims to seek better treatment. From AP:

Zhao Lianhai had pushed for greater official accountability and compensation for victims and their families after the 2008 scandal that shocked China. His sentence appeared particularly severe because the case related to a public safety incident that the embarrassed leadership had pledged to tackle in a bid to restore consumer confidence.

“We’d expected it to be much less than that. It is such a harsh sentence,” lawyer Li Fangping said. “The crimes he was accused of were nothing more than what regular citizens would do to defend their rights.”

Zhao vowed to appeal and began a hunger strike to protest the verdict, Li said.

See also “Injuring the Injured: The Case of Zhao Lianhai” from the Duihua Human Rights Journal.

Read more about Zhao Lianhai via CDT.

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