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China: Does the government still concern about the “kidney stone babies”?

The coverage of the tainted milk scandal in China has been gradually faded away from the mass media with the bankruptcy of Sanlu company. In December 2008, the Chinese government comes up with an initial compensation plan, however, to some victims’ disappointment. And according to Hong Kong's newspapers’ report (Mingpao), some parents put forward their proposal in early January, 2009 were detained from voicing out.

Government compensation plan

Local news (via sina) reported that the total compensation amount will be around RMB 4 billion (USD 0.6 billion) shared by the government and 22 other corporates. The government's share (RMB 2.6 billion) will be allocated directly to the hospitals for paying the bill for the victims. The compensation for the death caused by melamine claim is up to RMB200,000 (USD30,000), for serious kidney disease victims, it is RMB30,000 (USD3,000). As for minor illness the victims receive RMB2,000 (USD300) subsidy. A health fund (RMB 0.2 Billion) was set up to help victims for their future hospital treatment. Some parents, especially those getting the RMB2000 offer, refused to sign the compensation agreement.

Some bloggers joined in the discussion, for example, Wuhangmin criticized:

早就有人指问题奶粉的赔偿方案不公正,既没有患者代表参加,赔偿金额也不尽合理。而如今在赔偿方案启动后暴露出来的问题,更是令人费解。“结石宝宝”究竟有否免费救治?倒底有多少“结石宝宝”享受到了免费政策?为何报道中提及的患儿都是在自掏腰包自费救治?不知道国家规定免费治疗后是否下拨了专项资金,如果有,这笔资金究竟是如何使用的?为何还有家长要自掏近5万元看病?

Some people had pointed out the unjust compensation for the tainted milk case: there was no representative for the victim and the amount for compensation was unreasonably low. Moreover, the consequence of signing the compensation plan is unclear. For instance, does free medical treatment apply to those “kidney stone babies”? How many “kidney stone babies” can benefit from the policy? Why did so many media mention that the victims were paying for their babies’ medical treatment all these time? Is there a regulation or foundation set up by the central government to finance the medical fee? If so, how to apply for the funding? How come some parents had paid 50,000 RMB for medical fee?

Mu mian 7 suspected that the Chinese government is deliberately slowing down the process:

政府不是信誓旦旦的表态吗,现在呢?怎么都没反应。他们只会拖延时间 ,让民众遗忘这件事,达到最后不了了知的结局,政府和企业皆大欢喜,民众只能偷偷地流眼泪!!!

Hasn’t the government vowed to support (the victims)? How about now? There are no further measure to help. They are prolonging the schedule so that people are slowly forgetting the issue. Eventually a no one known result can be obtained and both government and enterprises celebrate, while the poor people sob in silence!!!

Liu Changfeng, another Chinese blogger added a legal dimension to the discussion:

政府部门与有关企业达成协议,匆匆出台补偿标准。尽管表达出了相当的诚意,但在不少人看来,赔偿标准显然是低了很多,大大超出人们的预料。从政府的本意来说,显然是为了尽快促成赔偿的实施,尽早消除事件的负面影响。但无论如何,此举都无法让公众信服。一方面,就当下的经济形势而言,在不少并非当事人的网友看来,这个赔偿标准都低得有些离谱,赔偿标准的合理性有几多?公众无法不对其提出疑问。另一方面,法庭的审判只认定了的违法行为,而对受害者的赔偿只字不提。作为司法干涉的最后也是最关键的环节,赔偿问题并非来自司法部门的解释,而是来自政府官员的说法。那么,赔偿标准究竟该由法律认定还是由政府行政决定?公众质疑的是行政决策究竟能否代替法律审判?

The government and related department had made a prompt agreement for the compensation. Although this showed the satisfactory sincerity towards the victims, the compensation standard was far below people’s expectation. Obviously the government wanted to implement the compensation quickly to eliminate the negative impacts in the first place. Nevertheless, this action was hard to convince the public. On one hand, even from the views of outsiders and the existing economic environment, the compensation standard was much less than it should have. Can the compensation standard be justified? But the public cannot have the channel to question the plan. On the other hand, the judicial decision only affirmed the criminal nature of the incident but made no words on the compensation of the victims. In the end, the compensation plan came from the administrative government officials but not from the judicial body. Which body is in position to make the ultimate decision? Judicial or administrative body? The public doubted whether if the administrative decision could replace the judicial judgment.

Up till now, there are around 290 thousands children developed symptom related with melamine poisoning. 51.9 thousands have entered hospital and 154 of them are suffered from serious kidney disease and 11 of them have died.

2 comments

  • Zictor

    Are there any news regarding the situation of Chinese dairy products?

    Are they safe for consumption?

  • Well…there was just a report from Jiangnan Dushi Daily that a Chinese resident in Jiangxi province bought five bottles of milk on 31 Dec 2008, however, later he found that all the manufacturing date were wrongly labelled as 5 Jan 2009…more can be seen from the following link:
    http://www.881903.com/Page/ZH-TW/newsdetail.aspx?ItemId=87048

    I believe that the General Administration of Quality Supervision by the central government had been working hard to improve the quality of dairy products after the milk scandal. But the provincial or county-level might not be keeping the same pace in the quality control…

    Wing Lok

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