Milk powder contaminated with melamine in China has killed six children and sickened nearly 300,000 children. Now, those families are being offered pitifully small payouts from dairies to compensate for their children’s pain and suffering.
The affected Chinese families have rejected the compensation and are attempting to sue for a greater settlement.
Although the payouts total 1.1 billion yuan (US$160 million) for the melamine contamination, they are sickeningly low per child. A child who suffered kidney stones would get only 2,000 yuan ($290). Sicker children would get a higher compensation of 30,000 yuan ($4,380), and the death of a child would be compensated with $29,000. Tian Xiaowei, an apple farmer and part-time truck driver, whose one-year-old child died from drinking melamine-tainted milk powder, explains is disgust:
If they offered me compensation, I won’t accept, because what do I need this money for since my son is gone. These people are making profit by letting people die. If the information was made public earlier, I would not have let my son drink Sanlu powder and he wouldn’t have died. I want to see what these people look like. I really hate them.
I can’t imagine what Tian and other Chinese families feel like, and really no amount of compensation would be enough for the death of the child. Even so, I think it is insulting to offer families such small pittance for the gross negligence of the dairy companies and the Chinese government. Another parent Wang Zhenping, whose 14-month-old son suffered kidney stones and liver damage from melamine tainted milk, said the compensation didn’t even cover his son’s medical expenses. “If they really want to compensate, then they should try to make the victims happy. If they can’t, I’d rather that they did not compensate at all.”