Australian businessman Stern Hu released from prison in China
abhilash david | On 05, Jul 2018
Australian businessman Stern Hu, the former executive of the large mining corporation Rio Tinto, has been released from prison in Shanghai after serving a lengthy eight years.
In July of 2009, Stern Hu alongside his three other colleagues were detained and arrested by the Chinese government over suspicion that the four employees of Rio Tinto had both accepted bribes and stolen commercial secrets. It was found that Hu, who was a very affluent and widely respected member of Rio Tinto at the time, had access to very specific and important information that he could have only acquired unlawfully. Further, he was accused of obtaining this sensitive information to gain personal economic growth in lieu of considering the best interests of the company that he represented. Hu’s lawyer, Jin Chunqing, attempted to prove the strength of his client’s character. He claimed that, although he stole close to $900,000 from the company, he gave it to many of his childhood friends who were facing extreme financial hardship.
Evidently, Stern Hu pled guilty to the charges. As a result, he was both fired by Rio Tinto and made to serve ten years behind bars in a Shanghai prison. Though some Australian politicians questioned the legitimacy and fair nature of the decision made by the Chinese judicial system, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd did not want to cause any tension between the two nations and therefore did not intervene. Sustaining friendly political relations with China has been integral to myriad politicians of Australia in recent history. Due to the proximity of the large nation, trade between the two countries has been extremely economically beneficial for all involved.
Throughout the trial, it was revealed that there was a hefty amount of substantial evidence that worked to support the Chinese government’s accusations such as unusual bank transfers and classified information found on Hu’s personal computer. Although Australian politicians, for the most part, agreed that Hu was, in fact, guilty, there was much debate over whether the sentence itself was a just retaliation.
It has been stated that the highly intelligent and motivated businessman, who studied at the prestigious Peking University before obtaining Australian citizenship in the mid-nineties, was an exemplary prisoner during his sentence. He used this time for both studies and assisted in many ways, primarily running the prison’s library. He is now fifty-five years old, and it is expected that Hu will rejoice in reuniting with his much-loved wife and son.
In early July of this year, Stern was released from prison after serving a total of eight years, two years less than his initial sentence due to good behaviour. Though journalists have reached out to Stern Hu and members of his family, no official statements have been made at this time. Though Stern’s plans are not known by the public, it is expected that the former executive will return to Australia shortly.