Australia says spy arrest could affect China's business

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Melbourne, July 12 (ANI): Australia's Financial Services Minister Chris Bowen has warned that the country's business people may not want to work in China in the wake of Australian origin Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu being arrested in the country on espionage charges.

"The Chinese Government will be very aware that it is not good for business certainty if there's a regular pattern of foreign business people being incarcerated," quoted Brown, as saying.

Hu has been detained for a week in Shanghai after he was accused of stealing state secrets and undermining China's economic security.

Bowen said the Hu's case would discourage foreign traders, including Australians, from doing business with China.

"It should also be a concern for the Chinese government that if foreign businesses feel that their degree of uncertainty is high, it will change the way that foreign businesses around the world approach business in China, and approach the placement of executives in China," he said.

Australia's Trade Minister Simon Crean has also expressed his "strong concern" to China over the Hu case during a pre-arranged visit to Shanghai.

Bowen said Australia was making representations to China "very strongly", and added that Canberra would look at any lessons to be learnt from the Hu case to better educate and support business people going to China.

Australia's open opposition to Beijing's allegation against Hu has placed the Kevin Rudd government in its worst foreign policy crisis since taking office in November 2007.

On Friday, Rudd, who had rejected the Opposition's call to directly intervene the matter, said it was a time for "working calmly, methodically" through a very difficult consular case.

"As we've done with many consular cases before, we'll make all representations at what levels are necessary," Rudd had said.

Beijing, however, says it has evidence to back its claims that Hu and three Rio Tinto co-workers damaged China's economy and harmed its security. (ANI)

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