Reports are coming in on the aftermath of the investigation into Rio Tinto staff in China on suspicion of “stealing state secrets.” Reuters says Rio Tinto is moving staff working on the iron ore and steel industry out of China:
The unsourced report from Shanghai also said other foreign groups were moving employees out of China until conditions there become more certain.
A Rio Tinto spokesman in Melbourne, Ian Head, said he could not immediately comment on the report, which said the unidentified number of staff were moved out on Wednesday.
Stern Hu, Rio Tinto’s head of iron ore marketing in China, and three other members of the Shanghai-based iron ore team were detained in early July on suspicion of stealing state secrets.
The U.S., Australia, and other governments have expressed concern over the climate for employees of foreign firms in China. See “U.S. Urges China to Improve Business Climate” from the Wall Street Journal; “Rudd’s tough China stance ‘no empty threat‘” from ABC.net.au; and “Hu conviction ‘near inevitable’” from The Australian. Meanwhile, Xinhua reports that “Rio Tinto case won’t harm Sino-Australian trade, Ministry says.”