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Organizer of Families of Tainted Milk Powder Victims Detained

November 13, 2009

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Zhao Lianhai (赵连海), a parent of a victim of melamine-tainted milk powder and a core organizer of affected families nationwide, was detained on the evening of November 13, 2009. Zhao’s wife, Li Xuemei (李雪梅), told HRIC that at around 10:30 p.m. that day, about a dozen police officers from Beijing’s Daxing District Public Security Bureau and Tuanhe substation came to their home and presented a summons for Zhao’s detention. When Zhao refused to go with them, as the summons did not state a cause, the police officers hastily filled in “provoking an incident” in the summons. They then handcuffed Zhao and took him away. The remaining policemen, in uniform and plainclothes, searched the house and took away more than ten items, including two computers, a video recorder, a camera, a USB drive, and an address book.

After his son became sick from tainted milk powder, Zhao organized a “Milk Powder Group” on the Chinese social networking website, QQ, and launched the group’s website, 结石宝宝 (“babies with kidney stones”), in order to facilitate communications among fellow parents and seek compensation from the Chinese Dairy Association and the manufacturers of the tainted milk powder. As a result, Zhao has been followed and threatened, and was previously detained.

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