BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Victims who fell ill or
died after drinking tainted baby formula will soon get financial compensation
from 22 Chinese dairy producers, China's Dairy Industry Association announced
"The enterprises offered to shoulder the compensation
liability. By doing so, they hope to earn understanding and forgiveness of the
families of the sickened children," the association said.
Victims will get a one-time cash payment, the
association said, without going in to specific numbers.
"The money for compensation is in place now and will
soon be handed to the people who have custody of the sickened children through
various channels," the association said.
No specific date was given.
In all, 22 dairy producers, including the
Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group, sold products tainted with an industrious
chemical known as melamine. It is used in the manufacturing of plastics. When
added to milk it appears to increase protein levels.
The association said in order to be fully responsible
for the babies, the 22 enterprises also raised money to cover medical bills for
any possible after-effects as a result of the poisoning. Again, no specific
amount was given.
"If the babies suffer from relative after-effects,
all medical fee will be covered by the fund," the association said.
The Ministry of Health said it was likely melamine
contamination killed six babies. Another 294,000 infants suffered from urinary
problems such as kidney stones.
China's tainted dairy scandal was exposed in
September after babies who were fed milk powder, produced by the Hebei
Province-based Sanlu Group, developed kidney stones.
The scandal led to the resignation of China's chief
quality supervisor Li Changjiang. Several officials were sacked, arrests were
made and the government is working on overhauling the country's dairy industry.
As of Nov. 27, a total of 861 babies were still in
the hospital, according to the Ministry of Health. Xinhua asked for updated
numbers but was told they will be released at a regular press conference,
usually held on the tenth of every month.
The Sanlu Group, epicenter of the scandal, stopped
production on Sept. 12. A bankruptcy petition for Sanlu has been filed as it
faces 1.1 billion yuan of debt, the Shijiazhuang city government said Thursday.