China: Media Manipulation on the Poisonous Milk Powder Scandal

When the poisoned milk scandal goes from bad to worse and raises international concerns, China government started to increase their control over the media in China. As the scandal involved most well established brands like Yili and Mengniu, ordinary people like Boyue feel that there is nothing else can we believe in.

Indeed, the situation is very depressing especially when the government prefers to manipulate the media than encourage public monitor to safeguard people's lives. beta disclosed the details of newsroom instruction notes:


Employees in the China Central Television said they received notice last Friday saying that they should only use news release from Xinhua News. Some reporters said they did receive notice asking them not to report comments and news related to children's kidney stone cases due to the poisoned powdered milk products.

Fu Rui-Lon criticized how the government controls the media:

” 三鹿毒奶粉案”延烧至9月15日,中宣部一声令下,紧急刹住了全国各家新闻媒体的深入揭批毒奶粉的热潮,连前两天高调批评这起丑闻的中国官方喉舌新华社, 也都取消了批评的语气,转为高调表扬”毒奶粉案”所涉及的各职能部门…一场涉及成千上万个家庭的惨祸,坏事变好事,活生生的转变为党和政府各部门、各级领导身先士卒的光荣模范事迹…都说”多难兴邦”,我认为应该精确理解成”老百姓多难,共产党兴旺”。

The “Sanlu poisonous milk scandal” attracted more and more attention until the Central Propaganda Department gave strict orders on 9/15 to stop all Chinese media to report and investigate this scandal. Xinhua News, which is a mouthpiece of China government, shifted from a critical tone of voice to more positive reports and eulogy for the government departments’ effectiveness in dealing with this scandal…This is a tragedy for hundred of thousands families. However, the sad story is being transformed into a happy story–what we hear now are honorable stories about those leaders and people working in the government…There is a proverb “after disasters a country will be stronger.” I think this proverb should be understood as “when the citizens are suffered from disasters, the Communist Party of China becomes stronger and stronger.”

Lianyue worried that the situation will become worse and worse if China government keeps tolerating these corrupted corporations.


In addition to the Sanlu Group, the Yili Group is reported to have melamine in their products in Hong Kong. However, there is no comment from China government or Chinese companies yet…Food and pharmaceutical products made in China have very bad reputation. However, all the bad news are dealt by spreading eulogy of the government and blocking reports harmful to the government. These corporations do not care about public safety any more when the government tolerates their wrong doings again and again…After Sanlu's scandal spread out, the government focuses on shutting the media and citizens up and prevent us from monitoring the government and corporate sectors, which only helps escalate the system crisis. If the system survives today, it will soon face bigger and bigger crisis until the whole system falls down.

On Sept 16, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) found out that among 491 batches of products produced by 109 companies they have checked, 69 batches of milk powder products produced by 22 companies were contaminated by melamine in varying degrees (you can find the names of these companies at the end of this article). Two among these 22 companies are very well-known in China: the Yili and Mengniu Groups.

Chinaretail News reported:
Contaminated products found in the tests include baby milk powder products produced by Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group, Shanghai Panda Dairy, Qingdao Shengyuan Dairy, Shanxi Gu Cheng Dairy, Jiangxi Guangming Yingxiong Dairy, Baoji Huimin Dairy, Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy, Torador Dairy Industry (Tianjin), Guangdong Yashili Group, Hunan Peiyi Dairy, Heilongjiang Qilin Dairy, Shanxi Yashili Dairy, Shenzhen Jinbishi Milk, Scient (Guangzhou) Infant Nutrition, Guangzhou Jinding Dairy Products Factory, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, Yantai Ausmeadow Nutriment, Qingdao Suncare Nutritional Technology, Xi'an Baiyue Dairy, Yantai Leilei Dairy, Shanghai Baoanli Dairy, and Fuding Chenguan Dairy.


  • Yan

    Are you really in China now? Who tell you that they change it to a happy story? Why you told the list by \Chinaretail News\? Don’t you know this is reported by CCTV? to all of the country even the whole world.

  • paosa

    It is not surprising in China, but only surprising that they really exposed it to common people. They well knew it before Olympics, but concealed it till the end of Paralympics. If you are angry, you must first realize that you are angry with a human being or animal, even worse-than animal. You must use indirect way to understand Chinese government. for example:
    a coal mine killed many people, so please blame the dead people and appreciate the Party, because the dead guy are stupid to chose that coal mine to work, while Party is “mercyful” to expose the news;

    milk power is tained and fed to baby, please blame the parents for their stupid choice to that milk product, while appreciate the Party who expose the news to the common people.

    As the result, the Party will be appreciated and correct forever for anything, only the common people is too stupid to make correct choice for them.

  • Li

    I am so sorry to live in China. When we heard from CCTV News that the milk we always drink is poisoned milk ,we are very angry with the bad company and the useless leaders of the useless government.but what can we do ?we have no another place to live in ,we can only live in the sad place .I hope someone can help us .

  • Xiao Xuan

    It’s about time to eliminate the corrupt system or there is no such thing as justice in the world.If a government does not care about human life, I doubt what evil things it can not do.

  • Dot

    Remember, it is not just problems with a government, but with anyone or any type of organization that values money and profits before human life, before doing what is right. When the desire to do the right thing is gone, everything else crumbles.

  • Nat

    I’m an expat live and work in china. I was slurping a cappucino the moment I was reading this piece of bad news. I was mad…felt disgusted and ran to the toilet, with an attemp to throw up melamine-tainted cappucino. Chinese govt did so well in covering this SH_Ts until the olypic/paralympic finishied. I think overall the country is facing morale problem . Chinese needs some common ground morales and awareness of caring of other people. You’ll understand what I mean If you live here in china.

    I feel so sorry for the parents. Hope all the sick children recover well. Hope also this doesn’t cause permanent damages in their bodies developement.

  • Tan

    It is really sickening and worrying that the regards for human lives are more important then showing off to the world what China has commerically and technological evolved to.

    And it is not only the tainted milk products. Previous allegations of tainted consumer goods ranging from electronics (iPods gal anyone? to me thats tainted) and toothpastes tainted with diethylene glycol. Whats next?
    The Chinese populus is always complaining about the world looking down on and putting China down.
    Time to reflect I reckon and instead of complaining about how the world looks at China, instead question the Chinese government integrity and professionalism.

  • […] focused not so much on the rice itself, but on the media's reporting of the scandal. Just as many bloggers in China recently took their media to task over lack of coverage of the poisonous milk… (which has recently hit Japan as well), blogger Chikirin questioned the Japanese media for skipping […]

  • Zhe Fuego

    I lived in China for two years and often drank the milk and ate the white rabbit candy. (They were delicious) While I am frustrated and worried about my health, I forgive the individuals who cheated the system and fed me bad products. I do not have any bad feelings against the Chinese… wo ai zhengguo he zhengguoren.

    However, I hope the people of China see the need more freedom of speech and the need for more independent voices with the freedom to speak out against problems. My home country has MANY problems, but at least we can criticize the government without limit and without fear.

  • […] China, an estimated 13,000 children have fallen ill since the tainted milk scandal […]

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