Two jailed over fake milk powder deaths

Last updated at 14:18 05 August 2004

China has jailed two men for selling fake milk powder blamed for the deaths of 13 babies in a case that caused outrage across the country, state media has reported.

The babies died of malnutrition and at least 189 were sickened by the fake formula.

Linquan county court in the eastern province of Anhui jailed shopkeeper Li Xindao for eight years and fined him 1,000 yuan for selling the powder, Xinhua news agency reported on its Web site,

Another man, Zhu Xuejun, was jailed by Taihe county court for one year and fined 1,500 yuan, it said.

Police arrested dozens of people suspected of selling or manufacturing the fake milk powder when the scandal broke in April, media reported.

Li and Zhu are the first reported to have been convicted in the case that sparked a national outcry and focused attention on the rampant problem of counterfeit and shoddy goods in China.

Most of the infants were children of poor farmers in outlying areas around the city of Fuyang. The victims were dubbed "big head babies" because their heads swelled as their bodies wasted away from drinking the non-nutritious milk powder.

Linquan county court ruled that Li knew he was selling sub-standard formula.

In June, six city officials were sacked and three others given warnings for dereliction of duty in Anhui in connection with the case.