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Convictions upheld in China milk scandal

  • Story Highlights
  • Two others, convicted of endangering public safety, have appeals out
  • Zhang Yujun faces death sentence; Zhang Yanzhang faces life in prison
  • Xinhua: Sanlu and 21 other companies offered compensation for families of victims
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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- A court upheld the convictions of two milk producers in China's tainted milk scandal, which killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others, state-run media reported.

The ruling affirms a death sentence for Geng Jinping and an eight-year-jail term for Geng Jinzhu, according to the Xinhua news agency. The brother and sister were convicted in January of producing and selling poisoned food by adding the chemical melamine to milk, which made its way into baby formula and a host of other products.

Two others -- Zhang Yujun and Zhang Yanzhang -- who were convicted of endangering public safety also have appeals before the Hebei High People's Court in northern China. In their original trials, Zhang Yujun was sentenced to death and Zhang Yanzhang to life in prison.

The tainted formula came to light in September after babies who were fed milk powder produced by the Sanlu Group, which has filed for bankruptcy, developed kidney stones.

Melamine is commonly used in coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. Some Chinese dairy plants added the chemical to milk products so they would appear to have a higher protein level.

Victims of tainted baby formula have been offered compensation by the 22 Chinese dairy producers that made the milk.

In December Sanlu and 21 other dairy companies offered 200,000 yuan ($29,000) to each family whose child had died, 30,000 yuan ($4,400) for serious illnesses such as kidney stones and acute kidney failure, and 2,000 yuan ($293) in less severe cases, Xinhua reported.

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