Chinese state media say the company at the center of China's tainted milk scandal asked local government officials to help it cover up the problem days before the start of the Beijing Olympics.
In a report in today's (Communist Party newspaper) China Daily, the spokesman for Shijiazhuang city (in northern China's Hebei province) says Sanlu Group asked local officials for help in a letter on August second -- six days before the opening of the games.
The spokesman says the company asked officials to help it manage media response to the tainted milk situation in order to lessen negative impact on the public.
The spokesman admits that the government's response was too slow, but says little about whether the local government worked to hush up the crisis.
He does say the government ordered the company to investigate, but notes that it did not report the situation to the provincial government until September ninth.
The Beijing Olympics ended on August 24th.
Today's revelations come as Chinese inspectors say they have found the melamine in another 31 brands of domestic milk powder products.
The Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine says it found the contaminated products after testing 265 products produced before September 14th.
At least 53-thousand children became sick after drinking the milk and four infants died.
The industrial chemical is used in plastics, fertilizers and flame retardants. Authorities believe it was added to milk to make it appear richer in protein.
The scandal has led to the arrests of 27 people in China, and the recall or prohibition of Chinese-made milk products by more than 50 nations.