SHIJIAZHUANG, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Four local
officials in north China's Hebei Province were fired on Tuesday following the
baby milk powder scandal across the country.
Zhang Fawang, vice mayor in charge of agricultural
production of Hebei provincial capital Shijiazhuang, and Sun Renhu, the city's
animal husbandry administration chief, were fired late Tuesday following legal
procedures, according to a decision made by the city's legislative body.
Shijiazhuang Food and Drug Administration Bureau
director ZhangYi and the city's Quality and Technical Inspection Bureau chief
LiZhiguo were also dismissed from their posts for loose supervision on the milk
Tian Wenhua, the board chairwoman and general manager
of Shijiazhuang-based dairy giant Sanlu Group, was also fired from her posts.
She was also removed from her post as the secretary of the corporation committee
of the Communist Party of China (CPC), according to Party authorities of Hebei
Province an Shijiazhuang City.
An estimated 1,253 infants, including two fatally,
across the country developed kidney stones after drinking Sanlu's baby formula
tainted by melamine, a chemical believed to help increase the protein content in
However, the contamination has spread to other dairy
companies as the country's top quality watchdog said Tuesday they found the
chemical melamine in 69 batches of baby milk powder produced by 22companies
The authorities ordered a halt to the sale of the
tainted products which included such well-known brands as Mengniu, Yili and
Yashili, among others.
Gao Qiang, the Communist Party chief of the Ministry
of Health, visited baby patients in Hebei on Tuesday. The province alone has
reported a total of 861 infants suffering urinary system stones, with 61 of them
Gao, also head of the emergency team for handling
Sanlu tainted milk, ordered timely and effective diagnosis and treatment for
infants sickened by the contaminated milk.
Experts should be organized to go to remote rural
areas to check the sick infants and urge them to be sent to hospitals for
diagnosis and treatment, he said while visiting sick babies and medical staff in
Hebei People's Hospital and Hebei Children's Hospital.
According to the ministry, the two deaths occurred
both in the northwest Gansu Province. They were a five-month-old boy who died on
May 1 after his family refused further treatment and an eight-month-old girl
whose family also refused an operation and removed her from hospital on July 22
on which day she died. Both of the two were bred with the Sanlu formula and
suffered kidney failure.
Zhang Zhenling, Sanlu's vice president, apologized to
the public on Monday.
"The serious safety accident of the Sanlu formula
milk powder for infants has caused severe harm to many sickened babies and their
families. We feel really sad about this," he said while reading a letter of
apology to reporters.
Sanlu, which is 43 percent owned by New Zealand dairy
company Fonterra, has been ordered to halt production. The Hebei provincial
government decided on Tuesday to dispatch four working teams to Sanlu Group for
a thorough investigation.
So far, four milk dealers have been arrested and 22
others detained for questioning by Hebei police.
Among the arrested were two brothers surnamed Geng in
Zhengding County, Hebei. They told police that they had been selling three tons
of contaminated milk per day since the end of last year.
The elder Geng said they added the chemical into the
milk to make it appear to contain more protein as they had suffered losses after
their milk had been rejected several times by Sanlu Group for failing to meet