Kidney Stone Gate: Sanlu Paid Consumers To Keep Quiet

Chinese baby with kidney stones due to drinking Sanlu baby milk powder with melamine.

From QQ: Sanlu used four cases of milk powder and an agreement to seal Zhejiang Province Wang Yuan-ping’s mouth:

Note: This QQ news article was available yesterday afternoon but is no longer available. However, there is still a link to it in the list of all 2008 September 13 QQ news articles and the original text was reposted in the various forums below.

Chinese netizens discovered a Tianya post titled “This formula can be used for disaster relief?” written by someone called “78900880088” on 2008 May 21.

In this post, “78900880088” describes his nightmare dealing with Sanlu and the government department responsible for inspecting and handling food safety problems. His daughter had developed problems after drinking Sanlu milk and after submitting samples of the product to Sanlu for testing, Sanlu would only refund or exchange but not let him know the test results because it was a “commercial secret.”

“78900880088” then tried the government department responsible for handling these food safety inspection and problems. They told him that the only way he could get the test results to determine the problems with the milk, he would need to go to a third party and that it would cost him tens of thousands of RMB. Without any other option, he was posting on Tianya for help and appealing to the media.

Ten days later, on 2008 May 31, “78900880088” asked a Tianya moderator to close his topic so no more replies could be made on his post. Afterward, it was soon forgotten.

Later, a reporter learned that Sanlu contacted “78900880088”, a 40-year-old father whose real name is Wang Yuan-ping, and offered to give him about 2476.8 RMB worth of milk products as long as he agrees to delete his previous posts complaining about Sanlu milk quality problems. The agreement is on the left.

He got 4 cases of milk that afternoon.

Several months later, almost everyone knows now that Sanlu baby milk powder contained melamine. Reflecting on his experience, Wang Yuan-ping says he obviously would not have accepted the bribe had he originally known what was wrong, and that “trying to reveal the truth about an incident is sometimes very hard.”

In one of the replies to his original Tianya May 21st post, a netizen named “ak200711” said:

LZ, why not keep going? The difference between a normal person and a hero is but one small step.

After reading this news article about Wang Yuan-ping, many Chinese netizens posted on BBS’s commenting about what he did. Some blamed him for giving up or accepting Sanlu’s bribe to shut him up. Others defended him as a normal person who did his best. Many blamed that the responsible government department for failing the people and many continued criticizing Sanlu:

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Some comments on QQ:

Is there anything Chinese people can eat without worry? Poisonous rice, poisonous dumplings, poisonous fungus, now the probem with milk powder. For a bit of profit, you are only harming yourself, making people not trust you.

My god! I have always trusted Sanlu! In the past, my child also ate Sanlu. These people really are too evil!

The country’s relevant departments are just for decoration!!!

From the Sanlu milk powder incident, we can see just how corrupt China is. In the future, I will only let my child eat food and not drink milk, it is too frightening! What kind of major brand is a evil company that does not even spare infants! Who can we trust now! So sad…

What is China’s health department and their experts doing? Why do they wait for something to happen first and then start barking? Was the lesson from Anhui last time not enough?

Fortunately, my child did not eat Sanlu…for Sanlu and that industry to behave like that, they simply have no conscience.

The country today is a the rich person’s country~!!! Their benefit is the country’s benefit~!!

So even though they already got sick from the milk powder, it was not enough and they wanted to give four more cases of milk powder so they can continue to consume it???? Were they afraid it was not enough to kill them? Maybe send them a few more cases???

Is there any use going to the company after a something happens? At most it will only bring more wealth to the corrupt officials that manage industry and commerce! It would be slower than jut finding some gangsters to wreck their factory, this way would also help the people.

Some comments on Mop:

As an ordinary person, I think we can say he tried his best…

Sanlu: It is because the milk farmers added melamine.
Milk Farmer: It is because the milk cow added melamine.
Milk Cow: It is because the grass added melamine.
Grass: Fuck!

This is actually supposed to be a funny joke. Grass = 草 = cǎo = cao3.

It rhymes with 操 = cāo = cao1, which has many meanings, including “fuck.”

So in Chinese, the grass (cao) can only say: cao! (fuck!).

Could it be that they intentionally suppressed this news until after the Olympics?

Now I finally know why America is always accusing China of not having human rights!

My opinion is that a large part of this incident might have been caused by Sanlu middle managers!

Commercial and government collusion.
Very characteristic.

Some comments on Tianya:

Detestable, aggravating…
Are rural children not also children?
Are poor people’s children supposed to eat poison milk powder?

Ordinary people really cannot afford to fight a lawsuit!! Just fees alone will cost tens of thousands!!
The people who can afford tens of thousands in legal fees would not be eating such cheap milk powder!!

Absurd…four cases of milk powder silenced him.

Consumers are innocent!

Do not change the target of criticism onto an ordinary consumer! Consumers are not regulators, they do not have the ability to determine exactly what was the matter.

What could he do? He already tried his best, would you have asked him to spend 10,000 RMB to go test? If it was you, would you have been willing to do that?
No wonder in 2007 the United States criticized our country for giving dogs and cats food added with melamine, but our country swore the United States was slandering us with no reason. Now they cannot say anything, right?! I strongly demand that our country’s food standards be brought in line with American dog food standards! We do not want human rights, we just want dog rights!!

If the factory does not give inspection results, what can an ordinary consumer do?
Sending it off to be inspected alone already costs 10,000 RMB.
What next, after getting the results then what?
Who knows how much it costs to fight a lawsuit?
Even if it is , what can you do? What guarantee is there for an ordinary person to bring down an incredibly big corporation? They have huge amounts of money, seasoned lawyers, and unfair connections.
What hope can an ordinary person have?
As a normal person I believe he already did well enough. A little more understanding, a little less censure.

CCTV, this accomplice! Everyone must not forget, strongly demand it takes responsibility!
As the country’s national television channel, it does not take any responsibility for what programs it broadcasts, twisting and leading everyone’s purchasing views, pushing the country’s children into the abyss. Is this not an indirect crime? And how are they different from rumormongers?
Do not wantonly publish news before getting to the truth.
Example: September 2nd, CCTV “Weekly Quality Report” special program “Made in China” chose Sanlu!

08/09/14 UPDATE: EastSouthWestNorth has a full English translation of the NetEase post, “CCTV “Weekly Quality Report” suggests making “Sanlu” the measuring bar for China milk powder,” mentioned in the above Tianya comment. Here is a part of it:

On September 2, the CCTV news program <Weekly Quality Report> showed the first episode of the series “Made In China” titled <Behind the 1,100 inspection steps>.  CCTV conducted a detail investigation of the production of Sanlu baby formula and showed that the flagship baby formula producer in China uses rigorous scientific management processes to guarantee product quality.

According to Sanlu Gruop Vice-chairman Wang Yuliang, baby formula affects the health and development of the next generation and the overall physiques of the people of China.  The production chain for baby formula is relatively long, involving animal breeding, rearing, immunization, imported raw materials, product inspection, packaging inspection and so on.  There cannot be any mistake during any step.  Over the years, the Sanlu Group has lived by its responsibility and mission to guarantee that each and every package of its products is safe!

Also, if you are wondering, the reason why Wang Yang-ping’s original post was titled “This formula can be used for disaster relief?” is because Sanlu had donated 8.8 million RMB worth of milk powder to the Sichuan Earthquake area:

May 18, Sanlu Group, informed that the disaster area had a shortage of infant milk powder, immediately donated 8.8 million RMB worth of infant milk powder, to provide a “mother’s” care to the children in urgent need of nutrition. At this point, San Lu donation of cash and dairy products to the disaster areas is already more than 15 million RMB.
May 19 afternoon, after carrying out simple handover procedures for the milk powder, vehicles were organized through the night to carry Sanlu milk powder urgently to the train station to be sent to the Sichuan disaster area.


Who is most responsible for Kidney Stone Gate?

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This is Part 2 of the Sanlu Milk Powder Incident, see also:

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Bill

    It’s not the government, not the company, not the farmers, and not the cow. Not even the grass the cows eat. It is the dirt where the grass grow that contains the bad stuff, and got passed on to the consuming public.

    We must take the soil to court, and imprison it.

  • Veer Left

    Re-educate the soil by methods of toil!

    Seriously, the comments are heartening. It appears that the predicted timeline is right on track. Excellent…

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  • Chinese commie dogs have no accountability. This sometimes rears its ugly head in business, especially for consumable products. What people ingest – food, drugs, beverages. People suffer and die in the process.

    As long as the people of China insist on sticking to the nasty habits of commie dogs, such as censorship, covering up news to ‘save face’, being satisfied at a less than perfect(or botched job), cutting corners… it won’t be a superpower nation anytime soon. GDP growth, a strong military, a rich cultural history and superb athletes do not impress. Accountability, responsibility and honesty do. Nothing good will come out of putting a capitalist lipstick on a communist pig.

    And the people of the PRC, the Chinese nationals, should stop screaming ‘cao ni ma de bi’ whenever a foreigner speaks the not-so-pleasant truth about their country. This denial/defensive mode, patriotic and Pavlovian reflex will do nothing good for the country and the people. Humble yourselves, shut up, take notes and make improvements. This is the same for ANY country, or ANY individual.

  • dave

    What he said!

  • fsc

    @Listen Up, people from China

    I think your in the wrong post, people are complaining about the officials and digusted with the government’s slow response. You’ll probably get more traction in the Xian beggar post.

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  • scKo

    I believe China need to seriously improve the food safe in the country.
    And who should be held responsible for the Sanlu milk powder case?
    1) Sanlu- the whole quality control staffs and other department staffs should be fired if they know the problem but ithout taking any action!
    2) The government officials who are corrupted and don’t take action to stop Sanlu production. They should be sent to jail!
    3) The milk formers that purposely mix the melamine into milk. They should be executed!!!

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  • good

  • Niklas

    Yes, there is alot to be done in China. This will probably happend over and over again. The government has to put down the foot, fire all health-inspectors, close down the manufacturer (or sell it and give the money to the victims), the farmer, well he is not educated but thats no excuse. This has killed many babies and should be on the farmers shoulder. However it’s a heart-breaking story and the victims so defenceless. USA and Europe has alot to deal with as well. Howeer things like this seems to work.

  • Sebastien

    what i want to say there are many thing to do

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  • Cao ni

    你不可能说王元平真的很好因为他很笨蛋。F*ck it.. You all can’t believe that Wang Yuan-Ping is courageous. Why the heck should he accept a bribe which was in MILK PRODUCTS. If he is courages, he’s a big idiot as well… So damn useless… OUR HERO…

  • This story shows just how imperfect government and health care organisations in China. And only one person is not possible to change something, can’t go against the system. There is just in Movies a Hero can overbend the system. In real life, the system always wins.

  • mao

    First, the people are at fault for allowing a corrupt government who does not care about anyone but themselves to CONTINUE to run and operate the country selfishly. Second, the government who use economic development as an excuse to sacrifice the general public “for the greater good” (actually, its “for THEIR OWN greater good” and not the peoples’).