Originally published by The Australian ,01 April 2010
By Greg Sheridan
THE trial and conviction in China of Australian Stern Hu is a landmark in Australian foreign policy, and our relations with China.
Stephen Smith, a competent and effective Foreign Minister, nonetheless never said a stupider or more untrue thing than that the case would have no effect on Australia’s relations with China. This is just an insult to our intelligence.
The day after, Kevin Rudd criticised the part of Hu’s trial that had been held in secret, as indeed did Smith. The Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced Rudd’s “irresponsible remarks”.
Hu was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes and stealing commercial information. No Chinese has been charged with paying him bribes. Implicit in Smith and Rudd’s remarks is that foreign companies that do business in China are left in serious doubt, with appalling commercial and legal consequences, about what constitutes stealing commercial information.Continue Reading →