Beijing: China has said the trial of
Australian national Stern Hu on charges of stealing state
secrets last year should not be politicised as it would be
dealt strictly according to the law.
With the trial against Stern Hu and three Chinese
colleagues working for Australian mine company Rio Tinto
set to open on Monday, China said the case would be dealt
according to law.
China underlined that it should not be politicised to
negatively affect the ties between Beijing and Canberra.
The court case against Rio Tinto is strictly
commercial, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said
replying to a question.
Qin's remarks came after Australian Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd's comment on Monday that the "world will be
watching" the trial.
The trial of Australian national Stern Hu and three
Chinese colleagues will open in Shanghai on Monday.
Chinese authorities arrested the four Rio Tinto
employees on charges of stealing state secrets last year and
they were charged with bribery and obtaining commercial
Qin said all parties should respect the authority of
the court. There should not be any comments and attempts to
disturb the legal handling of the case by Chinese authorities
before trial opens.
The foreign ministry official said Chinese authorities
would handle the case in line with legal procedures and
consular agreements with Australia.
In response to a question that Australian diplomats
are to be excluded from part of the trial concerning
commercial secrets, Qin said China's sovereign rights of
justice should not be confused with its consular agreements
He said the legal rights of defendants would be
safeguarded, adding that China had been in constant contact
with Australia on the issue.
First Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 21:24