Thursday, July 16, 2009

Foreign nationals should respect Chinese laws

By China Watcher

Lately, the Australian government under pressure from its own media and the opposition has been making lots of diplomatic noises and repeatedly mentioned that the treatment of a naturalized Australian citizen (Stern Hu of Rio Tinto) who was arrested for spying and stealing state secrets may affect China's business reputation and frighten off existing and potential investors.

I applaud China’s strong stand in repudiating these “lectures” coming from Down Under and warned the Australian government very clearly not to interfere in China’s investigation and handling of the case. Hu was accused together with 3 Chinese colleagues of spying and stealing state secrets by allegedly bribing steel mill officials, which may have resulted in huge losses to China’s economic interests and security.

Foreign companies and its staff must abide and respect Chinese laws and regulations when they do business in the country. There is no double standards and everyone is equal when the law in enforced and there is no one set of laws for foreigners and another set for the Chinese residents. The independent judiciary authority in China must be respected.

I am very sure that the Chinese authorities would have sufficiently taken into consideration all negative factors and economic repercussions from this incident and they do require more “lecturing” from a “white-based” country who thinks that there are always right and that only its Western laws and practices are to be TRUSTED.

The international business community and nation states who do business with China would not only take one single incident to cast its opinion on the treatment of foreigners and investors in the country. In fact, China is now looking inwards for more domestic investments and funds coming from “friendly nations” in the Asian region. So Western investments, other than those with high technologies (which is already curb in the US) is only a handful and negligible, of which if it is reduced, would not have a major impact on its economy.

China's last quarter growth was announced at 7.1%, which is encouraging and recovery symptoms were noted. For your information, Western media had earlier pessimistically predicted that China's growth will trickled down to only 5%. So Western views are very bias and one-sided indeed.

Let me remind the Australian government that it stands to lose more if it acts tough on China. Australian strong economic performance for the past few years was due to the increased in demand for its natural minerals like iron ore and copper and dairy products like milk, cheese and butter, a big percentage coming from China. China can always turned to competitors nations in Latin America and Africa for raw materials but can Australia afford to allow its export to drop 50%?

If it is true that Rio is pulling its staff out from China, I would be very pleased if they do so. More importantly, if they are really serious about the withdrawal move, China should just blacklist them and do not allow them to come back to the country in the future.

However, in a few reports both Rio and its mining partner BHP Billiton have denied the malicious and devious Australian Financial report that iron ore shipments to China had been disrupted, by insisting that it was business as usual.

China can just ignore these ridiculous complaints and proceed to administer the correct justice based on Chinese laws if it had been infringed by the company's staff.


Jatien said...

Rio Tinto management said they are "concerned " about its staff detained. This implied that the detention "treatment" under the Chinese government is not up to its mark - only Western standard mode of detention is acceptable. Just prosecute those law breakers, without fear, and you will be doing the right thing - after all China in the eyes in the West is already so low that it cannot go any lower.

China Watcher said...

Well said! Thanks Jatien