China blasts Australia for irresponsible remarks on Stern Hu case

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Beijing, Mar 30 (ANI): China has urged Australia to "stop making irresponsible remarks" over the Stern Hu case, saying that the Australian Government should respect the verdict.

Hu, an Australian mining executive of Chinese origin, was sentenced to 10 years' jail by a Chinese court on Monday for stealing commercial secrets in relation to sensitive iron ore negotiations and receiving bribes.

Following the verdict, the Australian Government claimed that part of the trial was held in secret and condemned the sentence as "very harsh".

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: "We express serious concerns about some comments made by the Australian side on the Rio Tinto case."

"The Rio Tinto case is an individual criminal case and China's relevant judiciary department has given its verdict after the first instance trial. The Australian side should respect the verdict and stop making irresponsible remarks," The Xinhua news agency quoted Gang, as saying.

Hu, a former executive of Rio Tinto mining group in Shanghai, was detained with three other Chinese colleagues by the Chinese government on July 5 2009. He was sentenced after he pleaded guilty on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has called in the Chinese Ambassador to Australia to discuss the situation, with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd under pressure to intervene in the issue on a higher level.

Earlier, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith had reportedly said that China had missed an opportunity to clarify its laws regarding commercial secrets. (ANI)

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