'Toxic milk' child's protesting dad jailed for more than two years in China

Beijing, Nov.10 (ANI): A man whose five year-old son was poisoned during China's toxic milk crisis last year, has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after he set up a website to warn other parents about the disease.

Zhao Lianhai, a 38-year-old former employee of China's Food Quality and Safety authority, created the site in 2009 after over 300,000 Chinese toddlers were poisoned, and at least six killed, by milk that was laced with melamine, an industrial chemical that made the milk appear more wholesome.

The website quickly became a focal point for thousands of parents who were outraged at the crisis, and that the issue had initially been covered up.

The Daily Telegraph quoted Zhao Lianhai as saying that he was determined to spread information about melamine poisoning.

He said his own son, Pengrui, had shown no symptoms prior to being diagnosed with a kidney stone.

"That is what worries me, because a lot of parents might not realise their kids have a problem, and then the problem could get serious," he was quoted, as saying.

Zhao was arrested last November and charged in March with "creating a disturbance".

His lawyer, Li Fangping, said the evidence for the charge had been that Zhao had given a media interview on a public pavement, held a dinner in a restaurant for a dozen parents of other victims, and that he had held up a small sign in protest outside a trial of milk company executives responsible for the poisoning.

As his sentence was announced, Zhao protested in court, stripping off his prisoner's uniform and refusing to be handcuffed.

"I am not guilty!" he said.

His lawyer said he would appeal against the sentence. (ANI)

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