The latest in the Rio Tinto affair. We don’t know how much they have been tortured, or how their families have been put under pressure, but there’s finally some movement in the case of the 4 Rio Tinto employees, which have basically been used as political hostages since last year. When will the world finally have the balls to stand up to these fascists? Do we wait as long as with Adolf, and till things are really getting out of control?
It seems we never ever learn the lessons that history puts in front of us. Shame on us for prostituting ourselves to these ruthless criminals, and keep doing our business as usual. And yes, I am still here, and therefore also guilty. I am ashamed to be a Westerner.
Can somebody please have the guts to push the red button? I hate to see my kids having to do that.
Three of the four Rio Tinto executives on trial in Shanghai pleaded guilty to taking bribes, including Australian national Stern Hu, a lawyer for one of the accused said on Monday.
Hu and three Chinese employees of miner Rio faced prosecutors in the court in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, accused of taking bribes and violating commercial secrets.
Tao Wuping, the lawyer for accused Liu Caikui, said: “Stern Hu definitely pleaded guilty [to bribery charges].”
Tom Connor, the Australian Consul General in Shanghai, told reporters that Hu had been accused of taking bribes worth 1 million yuan (US$146,500) and US$790,000.
“Mr Hu made some admissions concerning some of those bribery amounts, so he did acknowledge the truth of some of those bribery amounts,” Connor said.
The case has highlighted the risks of doing business in a country with a huge market but also close ties between the ruling Communist Party, police and courts.
While the trial was opening in Shanghai, Rio chief executive Tom Albanese signalled to an audience in Beijing that he did not want to jeopardise business ties with China, the world’s biggest consumer of iron ore. (What a wet pussy sleeze ball)
“This issue is obviously of great concern to us,” Albanese told a forum of officials and executives, referring to the case.
“I can only say we respectfully await the outcome of the Chinese legal process,” he told the forum, held in an exclusive state guesthouse. (the ‘Chinese legal process’. Am I the only one that feels the need to puke?)
Albanese said “we remain committed to strengthening our relationship with China, not just because you are our biggest customer, but because we see long-term business advantages for both of us”.
Foreign reporters were not allowed to attend the forum, and Rio e-mailed copies of Albanese’s speech. A Chinese web cast of it did not include his comments on the trial.
The four employees from Rio’s iron ore team, including Hu, were detained last summer at the height of fraught negotiations over last year ore prices, creating a furore over China’s opaque state secrets laws.
Mainland media last summer accused the four of seeking information about Chinese mines and steel mills, which many firms consider legitimate market information.
Rio has said that its employees did nothing wrong.
Shanghai is likely to want the case over quickly, before its much ballyhooed this year World Expo opens in May.
Foreign reporters were not allowed to attend the trial.
China has excluded Australian diplomats from observing the part of the trial concerning commercial secrets, drawing protests from Canberra, which says they have the right to be present for the whole trial, scheduled to last three days.
A mainland researcher in a think-tank run by the nation’s Ministry of Commerce said there was a strong case against the Rio employees and warned Australia to keep a distance.
“The Australian government and public need to calmly and rationally consider this question: should the government waste such a large amount of political and financial resources to pay the bill for certain companies’ immature and even illegal ways?” the researcher, Mei Xinyu, wrote in the Chinese-language Shanghai Securities News.
“What Rio Tinto and Stern Hu did would be utterly taboo in any host country,” wrote Mei.
The trial opened on the same day that, according to one mainland news report, internet giant Google may announce whether it will pull out of China over its complaints about censorship and hacking.