Australia urged to stop carping in Rio case

08:54, April 01, 2010      

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China Tuesday urged Australia to respect the verdicts on the four convicted former Rio Tinto staff and stop voicing irresponsible comments, in response to the accusation of a lack of trans-parency.

"We express serious concern about the Australian statements on the Rio Tinto case. The Rio case is a criminal case, and the Chinese side has already given its verdict, and Australia should respect this outcome and stop making irresponsible comments," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regular briefing.

A Shanghai court convicted the four former Rio Tinto employees of taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets, handing out prison sentences ranging between 7 and 14 years.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Tuesday said he had "reservations" about China's move to hold the industrial spying portion of the case behind closed doors, which he described as leaving "serious unanswered questions" and missing the opportunity to "demonstrate transparency."

"China's procedural laws have clear clauses on when a closed trial is needed," Xiong Qiuhong, a professor of procedural law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "All countries in the world have similar clauses."

Some amendment to the US Constitution also says that a closed trial may be needed if it shows "an overriding interest based on findings that closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest."

Industry analysts has estimated that the Rio Tinto case has cost China more than 700 billion yuan ($102.54 billion) in losses.

"In the Rio case, whoever is implicated, irrespective of their nationality, will be handled according to the law," Qin said, while stressing China's stance of welcoming foreign investment but requiring law obedience in operations.

Australian firms with large China businesses have been anxious to distance themselves from Rio Tinto's misconduct.

Upon the verdict, Rio Tinto immediately sacked the four convicted staff.

"With China providing the largest market for Rio Tinto, the world's second-biggest miner would not allow the individual professionalism-defying behavior to scar its business interests shaped from the good match of China's large demand and its abundant resources," Wan Jun, a senior researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Source: Global Times


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