There are now absurd claims by China that bribery by Rio Tinto has cost it $123b over 6 years – more than the total value of iron ore exports by Rio to China. The absurdity of these claims is compounded by the anger of the Chinese given that the current contract price offered to China by Rio is 20% below the current price of iron ore in spot markets. Cool down fellas you have got this seriously wrong.
Note how China Daily reported the claims. Here it is agreed that no evidence has been produced to support the preposterous Chinese assertions – how could it?. Ominously however this official newspaper account extols the need to protect state secrets in the commercial area.
This is ominous news for those seeking to further their commercial relationship with China. While China has asserted the need for ‘non-interference in its internal affairs’ with respect to its legal system this will not be accepted by any fair-minded individual. Mr. Stern Hu has been arrested without charges being laid and without the opportunity to seek legal representation. Moreover, the Chinese media and the Chinese Foreign Ministry have asserted his guilt prior to any trial being held. Is this a legal system that deserves respect?
Given its size China can be a force for good or evil in the world. The developed world derives many benefits from China achieving its development goals but when China acts as an intolerant, bellicose child who has suddenly come into newfound wealth it does not send out good signals. Moreover, these actions harm both China and China’s suppliers such as Australia.
It has been a bad week for China in Australia with Chinese diplomats and angry Chinese demonstrators attempting to suppress the participation of Uighur leader Ms. Rebiya Kadeer in a Melbourne film festival as well as objecting to a screening of a film on her life. Australians naturally resent the attempts by an authoritarian regime to censor views in Australia. That is not saying that Ms. Kadeer has a monopoly on the truth but she has the right to exposit her views. Particularly when those opposing her are engaging in the types of shenanagins we see with Mr Hu.