China dairy boss appeals sentence in milk scandal
BEIJING - A dairy boss is appealing the life sentence she received for involvement in a tainted milk scandal that sickened hundreds of thousands of Chinese children, state media said Sunday.
Tian Wenhua submitted an appeal Sunday to the People's High Court in Hebei province, saying there was a lack of evidence supporting the charges against her, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing her lawyer, Liang Zikan.
At her trial in December, Tian pleaded guilty to charges of producing and selling fake or substandard products after infant formula tainted with the industrial chemical melamine was blamed in the deaths of at least six babies and the illnesses of nearly 300,000 others.
Tian, 66, is the former general manager and chairwoman of Sanlu Group Co., the dairy at the center of the milk scandal. She is the highest-ranking executive charged.
Last month, the Intermediate People's Court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital, sentenced 21 people, including Tian. Three other Sanlu executives received sentences of between five and 15 years.
Courts also have handed down death sentences to two suppliers of tainted milk or melamine powder.
The swift action and harsh sentences indicated Beijing's resolve in tackling the country's stubborn food safety problems and the Communist leadership's eagerness to move past the embarrassing scandal.
Investigations showed that middlemen who sold milk to dairy companies including Sanlu were watering down raw milk, then mixing in melamine to make it appear to have a higher protein content.