APEC opportunity for NZ to stand up for jailed Sanlu campaigner

The Prime Minister should intercede on behalf of the man jailed for campaigning for the victims of the Sanlu poisoning, said Green Party Human Rights spokesperson Keith Locke.

Zhao Lianhai started a website that provided information to parents following the Sanlu melamine scandal. Sanlu was part owned by New Zealand dairy company Fonterra at the time. Zhao Lianhai was found guilty of ‘inciting social disorder’ for starting the website and was yesterday sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment.

“With the Prime Minister presently in APEC – along with the Chinese premier – he has a golden opportunity to press for China to release Mr Zhao,” said Mr Locke.

“Mr Zhao – whose own son was diagnosed with kidney problems following melamine poisoning is only guilty of trying to help families affected by the melamine poisoning.

“New Zealand has a duty to press Mr Zhou’s case because its premier company, Fonterra, bears some responsibility for not applying enough oversight to Sanlu’s operations,” said Mr Locke.

“Mr Key could tell Premier Wen Jiabao that it is unacceptable to punish a man for helping put matters right in the aftermath of the poisoning scandal.”