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Sanlu urged to 'do the right thing'
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08:44, November 25, 2008

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Sanlu Group and the 22 other firms involved in the melamine-tainted milk scandal should establish a fund to pay for victims' medical treatment, a lawyer for one of the affected families said yesterday.

"A compensation foundation is very necessary, and Sanlu and the 22 other companies should finance it," Chen Beiyuan, a lawyer representing several victims in Guangzhou, told China Daily.

One of them is 1-year-old Zhang Zhuoyu who contracted kidney stones after drinking Sanlu milk formula.

Zhang was born in Jiangxi province but now lives in Dongguan, Guangdong province, where his parents work.

His mother said she was unable to breast-feed her baby because she was too busy working, so she instead fed him Sanlu milk formula, a brand she trusted.

However, in September, Zhang came down with a fever and was taken to hospital. He was vomiting and having difficulty urinating, his mother said.

Doctors diagnosed the infant had kidney stones and said his condition was critical.

They performed an initial operation to remove some of the stones, but later said a second procedure was necessary.

"The first operation cost 40,000 yuan ($5,800), most of which we borrowed from our friends and relatives," Zhang Xiuwen, the baby's father, said.

"I have no idea how we will be able to pay for the second one."

Zhang said he has quit his job to look after his child, and the family now relies wholly on his wife's earnings, about 1,000 yuan a month.

Last month, the couple submitted a lawsuit, claiming compensation from Sanlu group, to the Guangzhou intermediate people's court.

"But the suit was rejected by the court," Chen said.

Although most of the milk companies have apologized to their victims, "this is not enough", he said.

A foundation should be set up comprising representatives of Sanlu, their victims, the Dairy Association of China, and government health and judicial departments, he said.

The 22 other dairy firms involved should also be made to provide financial compensation, he said.

Also, the existing law on product quality should be revised, to ensure better protection for possible future victims of scandals like the Sanlu case, Chen said.

Victims should receive payments equivalent to three times their total losses, he said.

"I posted all of my requests on the Internet on Sunday, and also published a letter to the milk companies appealing to them to do the right thing for the victims," Chen said.

Source: China Daily

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