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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on July 9, 2009

2009/07/10

On the afternoon of July 9, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, Ladies and gentlemen. The floor is now open for your questions.

Q: It's reported that Russia's Federal Migration Service detained 150 Chinese people at Moscow's Cherkizovsky Market on the morning of July 8, claiming that they had violated certain laws. Could you confirm? If this is true, what measures will you take?

A: we have not yet been informed by the Russian side through official channel. We take the news seriously and have instructed our Embassy in Russia to check the situation, and urge the Russian side to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese business people there. We also remind our businessmen there to abide by local laws and regulations.

Q: Could you confirm that four staff members from Rio Tinto have been arrested on charges of espionage, including an Australian citizen Stern Hu, and give more explanation on why they have been arrested?

A: Stern Hu, Chief Representative of the Australian Company Rio Tinto in Shanghai, was detained on criminal charges of gathering and stealing state secrets by Chinese national security authorities on late July 5. Investigation over the case is under way. We hope relevant parties could display cooperation. The Chinese judicial authorities will properly handle the case according to the law.

Q: Will Stern Hu be allowed to see Australian consular officials? Do you expect more arrests in this case? Also, Mr. Tan Yixin, General Manager of Shougang International Trade & Engineering Corporation was also arrested on July 7. Is this related to the Rio Tinto case?

A: Competent Chinese authorities will base on facts and laws in dealing with the individuals involved in the case.

Follow up: When will the Australian consular officials be allowed to see them?

A: Competent authorities will handle relevant issues according to the law.

Q: Can you clarify what is the nature of state secrets which Hu is accused of stealing? Is it related to iron ore? On what level have there been communications with the Australian Government? Will this have an impact on China-Australia relations?

A: As for the nature of state secrets, there is common understanding among countries and explicit provisions in China's laws. It is based on sufficient evidence that competent Chinese authorities took the lawful action. I'd like to stress that this is an independent judicial case that should be handled through legal channels.

Q: Could you confirm that they have been actually arrested, not just detained?

A: Chinese national security authorities detained Stern Hu and other individuals involved on criminal charges.

Q: Also on Rio Tinto, do you know when the Australian consular officials might be given access to Stern Hu? And when he might get access to his lawyer?

A: As for these specifics relating to the handling of the case, competent authorities will follow legal procedures.

Q: Last night, the Secretary of Urumqi Party Committee said the criminals will be severely punished according to the law, which means that many will be sentenced to death. If Rebiya Kadeer is proved to have premeditated the violent crimes, will you ask the U.S. Government to extradite her?

A: The question was raised at the last press conference. I will not repeat my response. On the specific judicial issues, I refer you to the judicial authorities.

Q: Are there any foreigners killed or injured in July 5 incident?

A: After the violent incident, we are concerned about the safety of the foreigners in Urumqi. We checked with relevant authorities and have not found any foreigner dead or injured in the incident. If there is any case in future, we will inform the diplomatic missions of relevant countries in China without delay.

Q: World Uyghur Congress has contact with many countries, like the U.S., Germany, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Will you ask the help of these countries to investigate the links between the World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur extremist and separatist forces? Last year, the Public Security Ministry of China released a name list of some East Turkistan terrorists, saying they were trained in neighboring countries. Have you talked with relevant countries on the issue?

A: I want to emphasize that terrorism is the common enemy of the international community. The Three Forces, namely religious extremism, national separatism and terrorism, is sabotage to countries in the region including China. In fighting against terrorism, and the Three Forces, the international community needs to speak with one voice, take joint actions and enhance cooperation rather than play double standard. China has been supporting and participating in the international anti-terrorism cooperation. The anti-terrorism law enforcement cooperation has been more and more important both within the UN framework and in our cooperation with neighboring countries. As for the Chinese national separatists and members of the Three Forces, we have got plenty of evidence showing that they are trained abroad by terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and that they have links with the Three Forces abroad. We believe relevant countries need to enhance cooperation so as to maintain stability and tranquility of the region.

Q: Some say the arrest of the Rio Tinto staff is pay-back to Chinalco's failed investment in Rio Tinto. How do you comment on that? Some Australian politicians say this may affect Chinese companies' future investment in Australia. Are you worried about that?

A: The detention of Stern Hu on criminal charges is an independent judicial case. The competent authorities of China took actions in accordance with the law on the basis of the solid evidence that proves Hu has collected and stolen the state secrets, which seriously harmed the economic interests and security of China.

As for the economic cooperation and trade between China and Australia, including the corporate cooperation between the two countries, we, as always, take a positive attitude, because the cooperation is in the interests of both China and Australia and is win-win in nature. This judicial case should not be expanded unrestrictedly or even politicized, which will not be in the interests of Australia.

If there are no other questions, thank you. See you.

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