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Australian FM: Four Rio Tinto employees held for espionage in China
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08:18, July 09, 2009

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An Australian executive with mining giant Rio Tinto is being held in China on suspicion of espionage and stealing state secrets, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said Wednesday.

Stern Hu, a Rio's executive in China and an Australian passport holder, was detained in Shanghai on Sunday together with another three Rio Tinto's employees, Smith told reporters in Perth, state capital of West Australia.

The other three detained are Chinese citizens.

"This afternoon (Wednesday) Australian officials were advised that the reason for Mr. Hu's detention was that he was being detained on the suspicion of espionage and stealing state secrets," he said.

While talking with Chinese officials in China, Australian officials learned that the four were detained on "espionage and stealing state secrets," the minister said.

Hu is a long-standing employee of Rio Tinto and has lived in Shanghai for a number of years, along with his wife who is also an Australian citizen, he added.

Source: Xinhua

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