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China: Kidney Stone Babies’ father on trial

Today, Zhao Lianhai, the founder of “kidney stone babies” whose 4-year old son was poisoned by Sanlu melamine tainted milk in 2008 was put on trial today under the criminal charge of “provoking an incident”. The trial ended at 2:30pm, Zhao pleaded not guilty but the verdict has yet to be announced.

In Twitter, concerned citizens are updating the trial of Zhao Lianhai by using the hashtag #Zhaolianhai. Zhao's wife was denied to attend the trial and had to wait outside the court in the rain with her 4 year old son, who was holding a placard: Father come home! (video via tiger temple)

Sanlu tainted milk power incident

So what kind of incident he has provoked? In the past two years he has helped families of “kidney stone babies” to defend their rights, in particular free medical treatment of the poisoned children. Liu Shaoshao puts together a time line of the Melamine tainted milk incident and Zhao's civic rights action:

2008年九月十一日,中国卫生部宣布“高度怀疑石家庄三鹿集团股份有限公司生产的三鹿牌婴幼儿配方奶粉受到三聚氰胺污染”,提醒公众停止使用该品牌奶粉。

2008年九月二十日,北京市民赵连海之子赵鹏润(三岁零八个月),确诊左肾结石…
  
2008年九月二十二日,赵连海在网上发布呼吁:希望受害者家长组成统一诉讼联盟,准备迎接此后漫长的集体诉讼。
  
2008年九月二十四日,赵连海创建“毒牛奶”网站,两天后,为了更中性温和,网站更名为“结石宝宝”网站。
  
2008年十一月,赵连海在网上发布“受害者统计信息表”,半个月内,收回表格两百多份。
  
2008年十一月二十五日,为了更多地掌握偏远地区结石宝宝的治疗康复情况,经过多方联系和寻找,结石宝宝家长、公益律师、民间NGO代表举行受害家属联谊会。

2008年十二月二日,卫生部通报,截至11月27日8时,累计报告因食用三鹿牌奶粉和其他个别问题奶粉导致泌尿系统出现异常的患儿29.4万人。
  
2008年十二月二十七日,22家责任企业表示,愿意对近30万名确诊患儿给予一次性现金赔偿。元旦,赵连海和其它家长认为,这个一次性赔付方案不是建立在平等自愿协商基础上的,遂提出了申诉书。

2008-9-11, the Ministry of Health announced that baby milk powder produced by Sanlu company in Shijiazhuang has been contaminated by melamine and urged the public stop consuming Sanlu milk powder.

2008-9-20, Beijing citizen Zhao Lianhai's 3.5-year son was diagnosed with kidney stone in his left kidney.

2008-9-22, Zhao Lianhai urged parents of Sanlu victim to form a coalition to prepare for a collective litigation.

2008-9-24, Zhao Lianhai founded a website on poisonous milk incident and named the website “kidney stone babies”.

2008-11, Zhao Lianhai started collecting victim's information and within 2 weeks he received more than 200 forms.

2008-11-25, gathering among lawyers, NGO representatives and parents of kidney stone babies for information exchange.

2008-12-2, the Ministry of Health announced that by November 27, there were 294 thousand children suffered from kidney problem because of tainted milk.

2008-12-27, 22 corporates agreed to give an one-off compensation to the 300-thousand kidney stone babies. Zhao and many parents put forward a plead against the arrangement as it was not based on mutual agreement.

  

2009年元月二日,准备举行记者招待会的赵连海等五名结石宝宝家长,被警方控制在大兴区劳教农场。原定举行招待会的场地被封锁,其余家长在路边举行了记者招待会。

2009年九月十一日,和其它受害者家长举行烛光晚会

2009年十一月四日,赵连海发布消息,全国第一例确定公开审理之三聚氰胺毒奶索赔诉讼案件“王刚诉石家庄三鹿集团案”,将于十一月十日在大兴区法院开庭。
  
2009年十一月五日,结石宝宝家长王刚被海淀区羊坊店派出所搜查并背铐了两个多小时。赵连海发布抗议书并征集签名。
  
2009年十一月十三日,赵连海陪同王刚,去海淀公安局递交有五百多位网友签名之抗议书。2009年十一月十三日晚,赵连海被大兴公安局从家中带走。

2010年三月三十日上午八点,北京市大兴区金星西路8号,大兴法院将开庭审判赵连海。

2009-1-2, Police detained 5 kidney stone babies’ parents including Zhao, who were preparing for a press conference in a hostel. The venue was sealed and other parents had the press conference in the nearby street.

2009-9-11, Zhao attended the candle night vigil with other kidney stone parents.

2009-11-4, Zhao Lianhai announced the information that the first civic case filed by Wang Gang against Sanlu would be on trial in Nov 10 in Daxing district court.

2009-115, Wang Gang was interrogated in Haidian police station for more than 2 hours. Zhao drafted a protest statement and collected join signatures.

2009-11-13, Zhao Lianhai and Wang Gang submitted the protest statement with more than 500 signature to Haidian police station. On that night, Zhao was arrested in his home.

Two testimonies
  
Two testimonies defending Zhao can be found online. They are written by Guo Caihong and Jiang Yalin, both are mothers of kidney stone babies. Guo describes how she first contacted Zhao:

本人在2008年9月12日以前不认识赵XX, 三鹿事件曝光后,本人为了给女儿维护权利,特买了电脑,当时本人根本不会电脑,后来在家逐渐自学电脑,不停的在网 上收索结石宝宝的情况,最先找到的是上海的结石宝宝家长王刚,后来认识了结石宝宝家长李旭,李旭把我拉进结石宝宝的群里,这个群就是我们结石宝宝的家长相 互交流孩子病情的群,我们在这里互相关心,互相照顾,在这里认识了赵XX(具体时间记不清了,大概在2009年初)。在2008年10月份我就委托了律师进行了法律诉讼,可是法院的大门一直没有为结石宝宝打开,2009年三月份,在我感到维权无望的时候,我准备去北京上访,可是我在北京没有一个亲人,而我又是一名残疾人,这时我想到 了北京的结石宝宝家长代表赵XX, 当时我是在坐上火车后给 他打的电话,当时他在电话里就叫我回去,不要那么冲动,有什么事情可以先在网上交流,可是我已经坐上了火车,没有办法回去了,我就告诉他我是一名残疾人, 现在已经在火车上了,他知道情况后去火车站接的我,我当时身上没有带钱,只带了去北京的车费,所以我就住在了赵XX家里,在他的家里他了解了详细的情况,他知道我的家庭困难,他劝我先不要冲动的去上访,回去和地方政府协商一些,看 看他们是否能给与我一些帮助,第二天他就帮我买车票把我送到火车上。

I did not know Zhao before 2008-9-12. After the Sanlu incident exposed, I bought a computer to defend my daughter's right. I did not know how to use it at first but slowly learned by myself. I kept searching information concerning kidney stone babies. Then I got in contact with Wang Gang, a kidney stone baby's parent in Shanghai. Later I got to know Li Xu, he invited me to the kidney stone babies’ group where I learned from other parents the conditions of our children sickness. We shared information and took care of each other in the group. And there I got to know Zhao (I forget the exact time, it is about early 2009). In October 2008 I have assigned a lawyer for taking care of the case, but the court has not been opened to our litigation. In March 2009, I was so desperate and prepared to pay a visit petition in Beijing. However, I did not have any relative in Beijing and I am a disabled, that's why I decided to give a call to Beijing's kidney stone babies’ representative Zhao. I got into the train and called him. Although he asked me return home and discussed the issue online, I was already on the train and I told him that I am a disable. Soon he knew about my condition, he went to the station to pick me up. I did not have any money with me, so I stayed in his home and discussed with him. He knew that my family was poor and persuaded me to get back home and deal with the local government if they could give me assistance. On the next day, he help to to get the ticket back home.

Later Guo attended the candle night vigil and here is her testimony about the activity:

我们的内心在担心着我们的孩子同时,很想找人诉说一下,也便于 我们一年来所受的种种辛酸和委屈有一个宣泄,由于结石宝宝家长分散在全国各地,于是我们就选择了北京,赵XX作为北京的结石宝宝家长,又是结石宝宝的家长代表,所以理所当然的我们就先去了他家里。本次活动没有发起人,只是赵XX倡议的,但这几乎是我们共同的心声,没有人邀请我,我是觉得作为家长应该为孩子的权利去努力的。事件发生在毒奶粉爆 发一周年,也就是9月11日,我们觉得发生了这么严重的群体事件,我们每个有良知的人都是应该去纪念那些死去的孩子,同时为幸存者祈福。所以 在这天,我们在北京大兴区的一个餐馆(我不知道名字)内举行了回顾性座谈会以及后来的烛光纪念活动。。。我 主要是讲了我这一 年来的经历,其他的家长也是分别讲了自己的经历,我们希望社会上每一个有良知的人,都来关心结石宝宝的成长。希望他们的生活中再也没有无谓的伤害。活动中 没有警方到场,警方在做些什么我不知道。活动中没有示威行为。事件没有引起无关人员的围观,我们一直就是在屋里关上门的。活动没有扰乱当地的秩序,没有造 成混乱等不良影响。吃完饭后我们就回到赵XX的家中,第二天我就回去了,在回去的路上我又被警察调查了此次活动的经过。

We were so worried about our children and wanted to share our feelings and express our frustration. Since we are dispersed all over the country we chose Beijing to become our meeting point. As a Beijing resident and representative of kidney stone babies’ parents, naturally we stay in his home. There was no initiator for the function, Zhao made the proposal and it reflected our views. No one invited me to go, as the parent of my kid, I have to defend his right. September 11 was the anniversary of Sanlu incident, anyone with conscience should memorize the kids who died in such kind of social disaster and bless the survivors. Therefore we held a seminar in a restaurant in Daxing district and then the candle night vigil… We talked about our experience in the past one year and hope other people in the society would also care about the kidney stone babies’ future. There was no police on the spot. There was no protest and no onlookers. It was a close door gathering. We did not disrupt any social order, no chaos and negative impact. After the dinner we returned to Zhao's home and on the second day I returned home. On my way back, the police had interrogated me about this gathering.

Jiang Yalin describes the Beijing press conference on Jan 2, 2009:

准确的说也不算是有发起人,就是大家知道三鹿的赔偿方案出来后,大家在群里聊天就这样说了,因为老赵是北京人,这 么大的事情只有到北京我们才有可能看到希望,所以就让老赵辛苦点了。去的人是自愿去的,没有邀请,谁愿意去就去。

There was no initiator. We heard about the Sanlu compensation scheme and discussed about it on the group. Since Zhao is from Beijing and such kind of issue can only be solved in Beijing, Zhao has to deal with all these. All of us went there spontaneously, there was no invitation.

活动当日有很多的警察到场,包括交警,还有一些不知道是不是警察 但是跟他们在一起,没有穿制服的一直都在全程拍照跟录像。
活动中没有示威行为,这些可以要求警方提供当天的录像资料。也希 望当天在场的媒体提供资料
当时最多的是记者,我们几个家长都被记者围住了,所以其他的情况 不是很清楚,这个马路记者会差不多在2点左右就结束了,记者自己走的,而我们其他的家长赶到大兴团河会议中心去找老赵他们,当时就想大家是一起来的,办完 事了一起回家。
当时有那么多的警察在场能有多少混乱,唯一的混乱就是很多不知道 是什么人一直都在驱赶我们,给我的感觉这不是中国的马路,我不是中国公民,我没有权利在这个国家的马路上停留!

There were many polices and undercovers. They were videotaping the whole process.
It is not a protest, the videotapes are proofs and the reporters can be witnesses.

The reporters out-numbered the parents, we were circled by them and did not know what exactly happened in the street. The press conference ended at around 2pm, the journalists left and we went to Daxing conference center to look for Zhao. Since we came here together we wanted to end this together and return home.

With so many police, how chaotic can it be? The only chaos was that some un-identified people were trying to disperse us as if we were not Chinese citizen and did not have the right to use our own street.

A criminal with Chinese characteristics

William Xu writes in his blog also defending Zhao:

连海真是一大善人,自打中国9.11事件出来后,这小子一天都没清闲过,除了像头驴似的 拼命挣钱养家糊口外,还得把自己的家腾出大部分空间来,安顿那些从东南西北窜到北京来讨说法的结石宝宝的家长们。有些穷得没盘缠打道回府的兄弟姐妹,还是 他掏腰包资助路费返乡的。更有某些跑到官府去讨说法而被警察大哥留下来的家长们,还是他亲自把他们从局子里要回来的呢。

然而,有幸成为中国人,并且有幸生活在这块神奇的土地上,你,是否有罪,并非是由你的行为能够来证明的,即便所有的当事人都能异口同声证明你不仅无罪,而且有功,那也是白搭。道理很简单,这片国土,的确太神奇了,神奇得不可思议也。

Lianhai is such a kind person. Since the Chinese 911 incident, this guy has never rested. He worked like a donkey for his family and have to rearrange his home to host other kidney babies’ parents whenever they visit Beijing. For some who have no money to return home, he buys them return tickets. He even goes to the police station to demand the release of detainees.

However, he is too luckily to be a Chinese and live in this wonderland. Whether you are guilt or not is not defined by what you have done. Even though the whole world say you are not guilt and you are contributing to the society, it is useless. In this wonderland, everything is unbelievable.

5 comments

  • Charles Liu

    Zhao’s baby was poisoned does not give him the right to block the street and cause civil distrubance.

  • Jennifer Mc Cleary

    What’s not right is the fact that he’s trying to make a difference in his country by raising awarness of poisonous life threatening baby milk and his country slaps him in the face. Maybe if China did something about their poisonous products (i.e. cat and dog food, toothpaste, lead contaminated products, children’s toys, and now baby milk) he wouldn’t need to cause such a “disturbance.” It’s time for corporations and governments to take accountability for their poor judgement and lack of proactivity.

  • […] this year, the founder of “kidney stone babies”, Zhao Lianhai had also been arrested under the charge of “provoking an incident”. He was put on court on March 30, but the verdict hasn't been announced […]

  • […] ihany koa ny mpamorona ny  “aretin'ny voa amin'ny ankizy”, Zhao Lianhai noho ny  fiampangana azy ho “mitarika ho amin'ny korontana”. Niakatra fitsarana izy ny 30 Martsa, kanefa dia mbola tsy nolazaina ny didy […]

  • […] buildings Tan Zuoren, consumer activist and father of a victim of melamine-addled milk formula Zhao Lianhai, AIDS activists such as Tian Xi, democracy fighters such as Liu Xianbin and many more were also […]

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