Rule of Law
Courts in China Reluctant to Hear Tainted Baby Formula Cases
Posted Oct 17, 2008 1:30 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Three courts in China have so far refused to hear lawsuits filed against the maker of tainted infant formula.
Although some lawyers and judges are working hard to establish the power of courts in China, companies that make shoddy goods rarely are held liable there, the New York Times reports.
Chinese courts are run by the Communist party, and officials are under pressure to promote economic growth, the story says. “Product liability lawsuits remain difficult to file and harder still to win, especially if the company involved is state-owned or has close connections to the government,” the story says.
In several provinces officials are pressuring families considering formula lawsuits to drop the issue and trying to persuade lawyers not to take the cases. The government is instead promoting out-of-court compensation payments.
The story highlights the legal effort by the parents of Yi Kaixuan, who died at the age of six months. “I don’t place too much hope in the lawsuit,” said the baby’s father, Yi Yongsheng. “I just want to ask for justice.”