BEIJING, Aug. 10 -- China's state-secret
watchdog has accused mining multinational Rio Tinto of engaging in commercial
spying over six years, saying data on the company's computers showed the
espionage came at a "huge loss to China."
Rio has said its employees did nothing "unethical"
and did not bribe Chinese steel mills for information.
Photo taken on July 9, 2009 shows the
Rio Tinto Ltd. Office in Shanghai, east China. Four employees of the
Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd. have been arrested over alleged
stealing of China's state secrets, including Stern Hu, general manager of
the company's Shanghai offic. The four people, including Hu, had been
detained by China's security authorities Sunday evening.(Xinhua
report issued by China's National Administration for the Protection of State
Secrets said Rio Tinto's commercial spying involved "winning over and buying
off, prying out intelligence, routing one by one, and gaining things by deceit"
over six years.
"The large amount of intelligence and data from our
country's steel sector found on Rio Tinto's computers and the massive damage to
our national economic security and interests are plainly obvious," said the
Chinese-language report issued on the Website (www.baomi.org) of the
administration on Saturday.
China has detained four Rio workers - Australian
Stern Hu and three Chinese colleagues - on allegations of stealing state secrets
about iron ore price negotiations.
The new Chinese report said Rio's spying meant
Chinese steel makers paid more than 700 billion yuan (US$102.46 billion) more
for imported iron ore than they otherwise would have.
A Rio spokeswoman in Australia said yesterday she was
unaware of the Chinese report and declined to comment further.
The report said the case should force Chinese
officials and companies to do more to protect sensitive commercial information,
and foreign businesses in China must come under stricter controls to deter them
"Our country has entered a peak period of commercial
espionage warfare, and the threat to important economic intelligence and
security of national economic activity increases by the day," the report said.
The report and others on the administration's Website
said the government should spell out more clearly what commercial data was
regarded as official secrets.
Contacts between local officials, experts and
managers and foreign businesses should be more strictly controlled, said the
report on Rio, adding that "traitors" were enriching themselves at the expense
of Chinese businesses.
"The Rio Tinto spying case has again sounded the
alarm over secrets protection by our country's state-owned enterprises and
corporations," wrote Luo Jianghuai, a secrets-protection official in eastern
China's Jiangsu Province, in an essay accompanying the report on Rio.
Luo said multinationals used Chinese staff with
experience in local businesses and government to illicitly gain data and
(Source: Shanghai Daily)
Four Rio Tinto employees detained in China for
SHANGHAI, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Four employees of the
Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd. have been detained on charges of stealing
China's state secrets, the Shanghai state security authorities said Thursday.
They included Stern Hu, general manager of the company's
Shanghai office, who was also in charge of the iron ore business in China,
according to the Shanghai municipal state security agency. Full story