Rio Tinto has cost China $123 billion after spying on its steel industry for six years, according to reports published on an official Chinese Government website.
An article published yesterday on Baomi.org, a website run by the State Secrets Bureau and the state-run publishing house Golden Press, said that information from Rio Tinto’s computers seized after the arrest of Australian executive Stern Hu showed six years worth of data that could be considered state secrets.
The article did not specify what the secret information was or cite specific evidence.
“Plenty of Chinese steel industry information was found in the computers confiscated from Rio Tinto,” the article said.
“For six years, these economic spies have curried favour, bribed and spied for information.
“The fact that it caused tremendous harm to the national economic security and interest is apparent.”
The State Secrets Bureau reports to the Communist Party of China’s central committee.
Four Rio Tinto executives, including Australian citizen Stern Hu, were arrested on 5 July on charges of espionage.
The men are suspected of paying bribes for information on China’s negotiating stance on the price of iron ore.