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Chinese media publish details of Rio detentio -

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PETER CAVE: The Chinese media have released what they say is fresh information about allegations of
spying by the head of Rio Tinto's Chinese operations.

Our correspondent Stephen McDonell has been following the story. He joins us on the line. Stephen
what's new today?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well people will know of course that the report is, according to the Foreign
Minister Stephen Smith, that the Chinese Ministry of State Security is holding Stern Hu, a
53-year-old who is the general manager of China's operations, of China's, Rio Tinto's Chinese iron
ore operations.

Now he's said to have been involved in some sort of spying and along with three other Rio Tinto
employees and they're being held in Shanghai.

PETER CAVE: This sounds much more serious than simply the to and fro of the rough negotiations on
iron ore prices?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: That's right. I mean Australian consular officials haven't been able to get
access to him yet. He's been denied a lawyer to this point. But under the agreement that Australia
has with China I think that the consular officials, I'm not sure the exact time, it could be today
or by the weekend I think, must get access to him. So yes it does sound pretty serious.

But according to the 21st Century Business Herald which is a Chinese newspaper, a Chinese staff
member from Capital Steel, a Chinese company, has been arrested in Beijing. Now a man named Tan
Yixin who is 40 years old is said to have met Stern Hu at Capital Steel in April and they discussed
iron ore prices.

This man, Tan, is the general manager of Capital Steel's international trade and engineering
corporation and also the mineral import and export division of the company. And he's said to be
someone who Stern Hu knows very well.

Now Capital Steel has denied that it is, you know, has anything to do with the spying allegations
as a company. But I'm not sure that, they're not necessarily denying that this person has been
involved.

And according to these reports in the Chinese media they seem to be implying by quoting industry
analysts that this is a much bigger sort of net of people who are going to be involved in this and
that there are others who've either been detained or will, or are under investigation, other
Chinese people from steel companies who are said to be involved.

PETER CAVE: Has there been any more detail on Stern Hu himself?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well not so much on Stern Hu himself but on the three others they've named them
as Liu Caikui who is said to be a new manager at Rio Tinto, somebody named Wang Yong who is
described as a long-term employee of Rio in China, and Ge Minqiang, the third person. So they're
naming now those four people as the ones being held in relation to this matter.

PETER CAVE: Stephen McDonell in Beijing and a story we'll be hearing a lot more of in the coming
days and weeks.