Chinese President Hu orchestrated Rio Tinto spy arrest: Report

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Melbourne, July 13 (ANI): Chinese President Hu Jintao personally directed the Ministry of State Security to undertake the Rio Tinto investigation, which led to the arrest of the iron ore company's Australian-origin General Manager, Stern Hu, and three others, news.co.au has claimed.

According to the report, the investigation appears to be part of a big shift of how China manages its economy, with spy and security agencies promoted to top strategy-making bodies.

The Paper quoted Chinese Ministry sources, as saying that the Ministry of State Security began its inquiry before Rio Tinto broke off its 19.5 billion dollar investment deal with Chinalco and joined iron ore production forces with BHP Billiton on June 5.

"This is certainly not 'revenge' for the Chinalco deal not going through. It is part of a considered, all-of-government response to the general resources question that was made after considering the likely international response," the paper quoted an Australian government source, as saying.

The report came as China reportedly rebuffed the Kevin Rudd Government, and may force Australian officials to wait a further month for a second visit to Hu.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has warned that China risked damaging its international relations over Hu's arrest.

"We would have preferred that much of the information we have gleaned would have come from Chinese officials in the usual and normal diplomatic way, rather than it coming from the public statements of the spokesperson from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and from an official Chinese Government website detailing the advice of the Shanghai Bureau of State Security," Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Sunday.

Hu, the head of Rio Tinto's iron ore operations in China, and three other senior company officials were arrested in Shanghai by secret police on espionage charges, and stealing state secrets.

The elevation of Chinese economic policy to a top national security concern began late last year with the collapse of the Shanghai and Shenzhen sharemarkets, the weakening of the real estate market and difficulties with manufacturing exports in coastal regions. (ANI)

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