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Re: INSIGHT - CHINA - RIO ESPIONAGE - CN65 [Analytical & Intelligence Comments] RE: Australia, China: Accusations of Espionage

Released on 2012-02-29 14:00 GMT

Email-ID 970494
Date 2009-07-10 05:56:18
In this piece he mentions that the Chinese always target a Chinese foreign
national. That is what I got from my sources and from all the research we
did on other cases seems to be exclusively the case. I did not come
across one westerner without Chinese decent that was ever implicated in
such a case. Chinese is Chinese no matter what your passport says.

Matthew Gertken wrote:

Here's the Greg Sheridan article Jen's source mentions. It isn't
brilliant or anything, but it pretty well captures the anger in
Australia right now. And you have to admit, he's got a point. This was a
really baldfaced move by China and this article is an example of the
enormous domestic pressure that must be coming to bear on Rudd.

Big risk in nasty business
Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor | July 10, 2009,25197,25759154-5013460,00.html

Article from: The Australian

THE arrest and detention in Shanghai of senior Australian Rio Tinto
executive Stern Hu represents a grave crisis in Australia's relationship
with China.

It is a serious miscalculation by Beijing, and threatens to do lasting
harm to China's interests, not only in Australia, but throughout the
Western world.

Rio Tinto is one of the biggest mining companies in the world. Recently
it has earned the ire of official China (China Inc, as it's sometimes
described) in two ways.

It has pulled out of a huge deal in which the wholly Chinese government
owned Chinalco was going to buy nearly $20 billion of Rio. And it is
involved in tense negotiations over iron ore prices.

And now Rio's number two man in China, a Chinese Australian, and three
of his Chinese employees, are in custody, ludicrously on suspicion of
espionage and stealing Chinese state secrets.

Often when the Chinese state is under stress it reverts to Cold War
rhetoric and indeed Cold War impulses.

But really, to arrest a senior Rio executive for espionage? In 2009?

This surely is 30 years out of date.

These arrests always tend to be of ethnic Chinese, no matter what their
citizenship, as though Beijing does not recognise the foreign
nationality of anyone of Chinese blood.

But if Australian executives cannot have difficult business dealings and
negotiations in China without being arrested, this is a grievous

The story has been reported widely internationally, on various forms of
media including CNN and Bloomberg.

Rio is a giant in the mining world. If Chinese authorities capriciously
detain executives from companies such as Rio, what lessons will the
international business community draw from this?

Most of all, however, this is a crisis for the Rudd government. There is
an air of contempt in the way the Chinese authorities have failed to
respond to Australian government requests for information and for
consular access to MrHu until today.

What does the much touted Australia-China relationship add up to if
Beijing treats Canberra with such conspicuous discourtesy and
indifference? Or, more likely, are the Chinese deliberately sending a
message? If so, it's a chilling message.

If the Rudd government cannot secure Mr Hu's release within a few days,
it will be seen as having zero influence with Beijing.

Kevin Rudd's ambition to be a "zhengyou" to China, a good friend who can
tell even unpleasant truths, will be torn to shreds.

If the Rudd government cannot resolve this matter quickly, then every
positive thing it ever says about its relations with Beijing will not be
worth the hot air they take to say.

The frequent talk of a special relationship between Australia and China
will be seen as fatuous sentimentality.

But the Chinese are risking serious interests as well.

Their action against Mr Hu greatly strengthens those such as Nationals
Senate leader Barnaby Joyce who argue against any strategic partnership
between Australia and China, while China's many apologists in Australia
will be deeply discredited.

This nasty business needs to be resolved very quickly.

Jennifer Richmond wrote:

So my Aussie intelligence source that I was so worried about because
he stayed in China incommunicado for over a week decides to get in
touch with me via STRATFOR! Ha. Well anyways, I am resending this as
insight in case not everyone picks this up. This is very important
and wish like hell we woulda got it this morning before I wrote up the
CSM. I guess we can always update next week or do a stand-alone piece
- thoughts?

ATTRIBUTION: Former Australian State Senator
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Source is well-connected politically, militarily
and economically. He has become a
private businessman helping foreign companies with M&As

Hey Jen,

Just back in Australia, but still only in Perth. Won't get back to
Brisbane until 1000 GMT on 10th July. Happy to take a call after
that. You may have missed a related issue on this story.

The day in arrived in China the media announced proposed changes to
laws on state secrets. These include increasing the range of things
could constitute revealing or stealing "state secrets". Of course
them, or deliberately revealing them, can attract a death sentence.
exact details are contained in clippings, which are in my checked
luggage. I will get them once I get home.

In my talks, the Chinese officials were turning themselves inside
out over
Chinalco, and the line given in the official media curiously blamed
Opposition. The reason for this is simply that the Government and
don't want to admit that they got it seriously wrong. You recall my
comment on the clipping you showed me? The problem is that they
tried to
push their bargaining position too hard instead of revising the deal
make it more immediately palatable.

Interestingly, the arrests come not just during the protracted iron
negotiations, but on the very weekend that Rio successfully
concluded its
rights issue to replace most of the cash they were to get from
Chinalco. I
think these guys were really pissed off by that, and wanted to do
to lash out at Rio. Also, they may have figured that arresting
these guys
would lead to a capitulation by Rio at the negotiating table.

Rudd is copping a flogging for failing to say anything at all on the
matter, even though the Australian has been in the bag for four
days. You
need to see Greg Sheridan's article in the Australian today. Also,
have a fan at the Australian Fin Review, as Stratfor commentary made
half the back page in the Chanticleer column there.

I got out of China a week late, and was very worried for myself for
week, but all turned out okay.

Hope all is well at your end.