AP and the Haphazard Gourmet Girls report that the companies whose tainted milk products sickened nearly 300,000 children and were blamed in the deaths of six will likely pay 1.1 billion yuan ($160 million) in compensation to victims’ families.  Details of the compensation plan came shortly after trials began for 15 people on charges related to the production and sale of melamine, an industrial chemical added to milk to falsely boost protein readings in quality tests.  The 22 companies blamed in the scandal will make a one-time 900 million yuan ($131 million) cash payment to victims.  The remaining 200 million yuan ($29 million) would cover bills for lingering health problems, the paper said, citing an unnamed source from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Details in the report roughly correspond to figures provided this month by lawyers seeking to sue the companies involved, who said that most children who suffered kidney stones would get 2,000 yuan ($290), while sicker children would be paid 30,000 yuan ($4,380).  Families of children who died will each get 200,000 yuan ($29,000).

If this had happened in the United States – 300,000 children poisoned – the payout would have rivaled the auto bailout.