This Week in China

Top Story China Photos/Getty Images Photos: China’s Poisoned Milk Scandal Four children have died and 13,000 have been hospitalized after drinking tainted milk formula. Thousands of tons of milk products have been pulled from shelves after inspections revealed that a wide range of products, including liquid milk, yogurt, and ice cream may contain the industrial ...

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592386_080924_baby5.jpg

Top Story

China Photos/Getty Images Photos: China’s Poisoned Milk Scandal

Four children have died and 13,000 have been hospitalized after drinking tainted milk formula. Thousands of tons of milk products have been pulled from shelves after inspections revealed that a wide range of products, including liquid milk, yogurt, and ice cream may contain the industrial chemical melamine. The scandal has forced the resignation of China's top food quality official and the dismissal of a provincial party chief.

Top Story

China Photos/Getty Images

Four children have died and 13,000 have been hospitalized after drinking tainted milk formula. Thousands of tons of milk products have been pulled from shelves after inspections revealed that a wide range of products, including liquid milk, yogurt, and ice cream may contain the industrial chemical melamine. The scandal has forced the resignation of China’s top food quality official and the dismissal of a provincial party chief.

Dealers that collect milk from farmers and sell milk to major companies stand accused of using melamine to increase the protein count of watered down milk. Sanlu, the company most implicated in failing to ensure product safety, is said to have received complaints as early as December 2007 but ignored the problem until the recent death of an infant put its products under the microscope.

As more and more countries place import bans on Chinese dairy products, government officials have sent hundreds of inspection teams across the country to shore up the dairy industry and develop an overhaul of safety measures.

For more on this scandal, check out this week’s FP’s photo essay.

General News

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is in New York for several days this week to attend a high-level U.N. meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.

Eyes will turn towards the sky Thursday evening as China’s “Taikonauts” blast off in the Shenzhou VII spacecraft. China will attempt its first spacewalk.

Forty-three people were killed and 88 injured in a nightclub fire in Shenzhen. Firefighters suspect that fireworks used onstage were to blame.

Politics

Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez paid a state visit to Beijing Tuesday, signing an accord that lays out several plans for oil cooperation between China and Venezuela.

Shanxi Gov. Meng Xuenong resigned on Sunday over his handling of last week’s mudslide that killed over 250 people. Incidentally, he was also the mayor of Beijing during the 2003 SARS outbreak and was dismissed for mismanaging that crisis.

Economy

Fears of an economic slowdown have prompted Chinese officials to cut interest rates. Weakness on exports and sagging real estate prices are top culprits.

Chinese banks and financial entities, flush with cash, are cautiously eyeing expansion opportunities as the United States’s financial woes continue.

Environment

The Beijing Olympic and Paralympic games are history, but so are the driving bans. Gridlock returned to Beijing’s streets this week, causing frustration among commuters and prompting more debate on possible ways to alleviate the traffic problem.

A once-endangered species of monkey that is steeped in local myth is found to be thriving in Guangxi.

China Moment

People would gladly pay a premium on safe milk these days, so why not pay that premium to a wet nurse? One Wenzhou company is offering a wet nurse service that pays its top employees 18,000 RMB a month.

Jerome Chen is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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