West shall reflect on Rio Tinto aftermath

09:09, April 01, 2010      

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By Mei Xinyu

On Monday, Stern Hu, former executive of Rio Tinto mining group in Shanghai, and his three colleagues were convicted of taking bribes and stealing trade secrets. They were sentenced to imprisonment, ranging from seven to 14 years, fined 7.7 million yuan ($1.13 million), and their properties were confiscated.

The Western media and a few Australian politicians have criticized the verdict. Some foreign media quoted Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith as having said that the verdict was too harsh "by Australian standards".

Smith has to be reminded that Hu and his colleagues committed the crimes in China and were arrested here. So they had to be dealt with by China's courts according to China's laws. Judging the case according to Australian standards would have been a violation of China's sovereignty and an affront to its society.

Australia and other Western countries should stop seeing things through blinders. Instead, they should rethink their legal orientations. Wouldn't it have been a travesty of justice and an infringement on the rights of the victims if the criminals were granted leniency? Does any country consider the rights of criminals to be of greater importance than those of its law-abiding citizens?

The iron and steel industry is a cornerstone of China's economy and is highly dependent on iron ore imports. In 2008, China imported iron ore worth $60.5 billion, equal to 43 percent of Australia's total exports in 2007 ($141.3 billion). Therefore, the iron and steel industry's data are regarded as a national secret. This makes the sentences handed down to Hu and his colleagues very light.

Western countries have tried to meddle with the judicial system of developing countries, including China, whenever they have passed a verdict against Western nationals or companies. They do so because of three reasons. First, Western powers still consider themselves as superior than the rest of the world, and hence think they occupy the moral high ground.

Second, Western political institutions allow interest groups to hijack the policies of non-Western countries in order to distort the investments of political, economic, diplomatic and even military resources.


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(Editor:赵晨雁)

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