As the saying goes, antiques in flourishing times, gold in troubled times. But from last year to the present, the price increase is even more fierce than gold, it turned out to be a pile of stone——iron ore.

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As of now , The price of iron ore has risen by 60%. In the same period, the price of steel in China has risen by less than 10%. Calculated at the current price of US$175 per ton, foreign mines can sell one ton of iron ore to Chinese companies to offset the cost and make a direct net profit of US$145.

As the largest customer of iron ore, China consumes 70%of the world’s iron ore and is also Australian iron ore The biggest buyer of stone. In mid-December 2020, the China Iron and Steel Industry Association”questioned” the two major Australian iron ore giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. BHP Billiton also stated that it will strengthen communication with the China Iron and Steel Association to jointly promote the openness and transparency of the iron ore market. And all this is due to Hu Shitai, a notorious commercial spy who graduated from Peking University a dozen years ago.

Admitted to the History Department of Peking University at the age of 16

2018 One day in early July, facing the scorching sun, a gentle-looking middle-aged man slowly walked out of the Qingpu Prison in the suburbs of Shanghai. He looked up at the blue sky without a trace of white clouds, and then at the several Australian colleagues who were approaching him in front of him. Without much words, he followed them in the car and left.

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It was the Australian Chinese Hu Shitai who was released from prison, and he worked for the Australian Rio Tinto mining group , He is Stern Hu, the”China Trade Representative” in an important position.

The years are rushing. He used the name”Hu Shitai” and left an ignorant childhood in Tianjin. After he was admitted to Peking University at the age of 16, he Minghu left a young student to wander.

But those, after all, become the past. Today’s Stern Hu is a”traitor” who shocked the world. During his short six years as the representative of Australia’s Rio Tinto Mining Group in China, he wandered among the senior executives of the Chinese steel industry, formed cliques, obtained information, and”pitted” China for 7000 on his own. Billion!

In 1963, Hu Shitai was born in Tianjin, China. There is not much information or anecdotes about his childhood. The only certainty is that as a native of Tianjin, he must have left many unforgettable childhood memories in this city where Chinese and Western cultures are compatible with ancient and modern.

After graduating, he went directly to a mechanical school to learn as a lathe worker, and becoming an ordinary worker after finishing school might be the best destination at the time. But no one could predict that in September 1977, the college entrance examination was restored, and a brand new door was slowly opened to countless young people.

Hu Shitai is undoubtedly smart, because he firmly grasped this opportunity to turn over. In 1979, he became a freshman admitted to the History Department of Peking University with excellent results in the college entrance examination. And that year, he was only 16 years old.

According to the memories of his classmates at the time, Hu was very talented when he was studying, and he played a good violin. His academic performance was above average in the class, maybe Because of the fact that his family was hit during the Cultural Revolution, he was low-key and humble. So when a series of”good things” he did came to light, many Peking University colleagues still couldn’t believe that the weak historical talent would actually betray the motherland.

Study and naturalized Australia has become a”spy”

After successfully graduating from Peking University, Hu Shitai worked in China for a period of time. But in the upsurge of studying abroad that began in the 1980s and 1990s, Hu Shitai was tempted to”foreign ink”.

In those days, studying abroad did not only mean studying, it also represented”gold plating” and was a golden opportunity to change your destiny. After going out, some people rely on hard work to take root abroad; some people return to their country after studying, and they shine in all walks of life in the country.

Hu Shitai didn’t want to miss this opportunity. After some fighting, he finally got on the express train to Australia for further study. Just this time, his life trajectory has also completely changed.

With his cleverness and hard-working spirit, Hu Shitai quickly”made his head” in Australia. He first joined the Hamosley Iron Mine, Australia’s second largest iron mine; then, after the iron ore was acquired by the world-renowned Rio Tinto Mining Group, he transformed himself into an employee of an Australian mining giant.

In order to adapt to the development of his career, Hu Shitai made the decision to naturalize Australia in 1997. With the approval of the Australian Immigration Bureau, the Chinese Hu Shitai Disappeared, replaced by Stern Hu, an Australian Chinese.

After naturalization in Australia, Hu Shitai submitted an application for transfer to China from Rio Tinto’s headquarters on the grounds of “understanding the customs of China” and successfully assumed the post of China Trade representative. This was originally a good thing. His existence could have promoted win-win cooperation between China and Australia. But no one would have thought that when he came back this time, he wanted to pay the price of”bleeding” from China in exchange for the favor of the Australian company.

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In 2003, China and the world three major mines-Australia BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Brazil Vale The first year of price negotiations. As an Australian born in China, Hu Shitai knew very well that in order to achieve the ultimate victory in the negotiations, he must “know oneself and the enemy”. In order to understand more market information than the negotiating opponent”China Iron and Steel Association”, Hu Shitai and his sales team in Rio Tinto China went deep into small steel plants in third- and fourth-tier cities to dig deep into various”secrets””Information”, including financial data such as the turnover days of raw material inventory, the average cost of imported mines, the unit gross profit per ton of steel, and the unit consumption of pig iron.

Slaying 700 billion yuan and taking 6 million bribes

Hu Shitai attaches importance to the value of”investigation” and knows The role of ghosts. Hu Shitai clearly knew that”fortresses are often breached from within.” Therefore, when Hu Shitai was in power in China, he was very concerned about how to use the”golden yuan” method to corrupt and tempt the middle and high-level managers of China’s major steel plants.

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In order to break the united front of negotiations established by the China Iron and Steel Association, relying on the”Golden Yuan” offensive, Hu Shitai took the general manager of Shougang International Trade and Engineering Company (Zhongshou International), who had been close to him Assistant and General Manager of Mining Import and Export Company Tan Yixin pulled down the water and worked together to create a commercial bribery chain between Rio Tinto and Chinese buyers.

The purpose of the commercial espionage war is nothing more than the benefit of the own group. Through this unique commercial bribery chain, Hu Shitai lured certain people in the iron ore trading department of large domestic steel mills to obtain more long-term ore from international miners, and then resell them to small steel mills for arbitrage at a high price. Use state secrets to conduct illegal transactions with international mineral traders in private.

In this round of trading, the two sides benefited, and the intermediate links were damaged. The intermediate links of the Changxie Mine are the few centrally-owned units with import qualifications. This again involves the issue of the interests of a monopoly sector.

Although, Hu Shitai is not a high-level group in the mine, he will not officially appear on the iron ore negotiation table. However, Hu Shitai used his unique network and information advantages to provide a large amount of confidential information to the mining group. It is this confidential information that makes the China Iron and Steel Association at the other end of the negotiating table feel uncomfortable, often without a license. All the details have been completely seen by the other party.

A clear hand makes the China Iron and Steel Association often fall into a dilemma. When the China Iron and Steel Association was authorized to replace Baosteel as China’s demand negotiator, it was once a”tough” posture. However, due to the leakage of internal information, the China Iron and Steel Association appears weak to deal with internal and external troubles.

After successive negotiations failed, China had to bear the skyrocketing price of imported iron ore. According to statistics, since 2003, the three major mines have raised iron ore prices by 18.6%, 71.5%, 19%and 9.5%for four consecutive years. To make matters worse, in 2008, when the financial crisis broke out in China, the three major mines even”killed” China. According to statistics, the price of fine ore rose by 79.88%and the price of lump ore rose by 96.5%, creating a history. The record for the highest increase since.

The rise and rise naturally make the three major mines behind this make a lot of money, but at the same time it also caused Chinese steel companies to pay for nothing. A huge loss of 700 billion. According to the”Daily Economic News” report, the money is equivalent to twice the total profits of these companies and 10%of Australia’s GDP…

While going to jail, the prime minister of Australia attracted personal dignitaries

On July 5, 2009, a strange silence was enveloped. The 51st floor of Hong Kong New World Tower, 300 Huaihai Middle Road-Rio Tinto Shanghai Office.

This afternoon, a few uninvited guests suddenly visited, and they were looking for Hu Shitai. After seeing him, these people took out the”Investigation Certificate” to identify themselves, and told Hu Shitai that he was formally arrested by Shanghai authorities for allegedly infringing on Chinese state secrets. In the panic gaze of everyone, the investigators boxed Hu’s office computer and other office materials, and then took away Liu Caikui, Wang Yong, and Ge Minqiang who were working.

The first domino fell, and everything seemed to be getting worse. Within a few days, the list of arrested persons continued to expand. This series of arrests caused the steel companies in Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong and Liaoning to fall into collective panic. Subsequently, a total of 16 steel companies in charge were investigated one after another.

After Hu Shitai fell into the French Open, Australia’s reaction was very strong. According to reports, the then Australian Prime Minister Rudd personally came forward to negotiate with China, hoping that China would consider it carefully and handle it with caution. An Australian politician actually declared openly:”The prime minister should call the Chinese leader immediately and ask for release as soon as possible.”

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However, when the country’s wealth of RMB 700 billion is paid in, how can China? Can you let this”commercial espionage” steal secrets? On March 29, 2010, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced the defendant Hu Shitai to ten years in prison, as well as confiscation of property and a fine of RMB 1 million. On May 17, 2010, the Shanghai Higher People’s Court publicly pronounced the second instance, rejected the defendant’s appeal and upheld the first instance judgment. In this regard, Hu Shitai, who is”Chinese body, foreign mind”, ushered in the shameless ending of imprisonment under the ruling of the law.

Hu Shitai’s case undoubtedly sounded the alarm, and what is more worth thinking about is why such people still have room for evil? And how many 700 billion can we lose?

An online media survey on the Hu Shitai incident revealed that among the nearly 130,000 respondents, more than 91%believe that Rio Tinto’s internal and external collusion is a state-owned enterprise and foreign investment A common phenomenon in the negotiations, 89.5%of people thought it was an act of “stealing state secrets”, nearly 6.9%thought it was industrial espionage, and 3.6%thought it was commercial bribery.

Many netizens condemned Hu Shitai, and some even called them”traitors” and”comradors”, calling for severe punishment. A few people expressed the need to take a calm look at such issues, but the”grey areas” in all walks of life need to be better regulated in the future.

To this day, the Rio Tinto case has long gone, but the trade inequality caused by the Rio Tinto case still exists today. For China, establishing its own voice in the world’s bulk commodity industry has become a top priority. In terms of reserves alone, my country’s iron ore resources are very rich, ranking fourth in the world. However, considering the issues of cost, performance, and environmental protection, the pattern of high dependence on foreign iron ore in the short-term will not change for the time being.

In order to further increase the right to speak in the international iron ore trade, China has taken many countermeasures. For example, Chinese companies obtain overseas mineral resources through equity acquisitions, asset acquisitions, joint ventures, and joint ventures; in June 2020, a consortium led by Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd. formally acquired the world’s largest iron ore-Simandou Iron Mine in Guinea, Africa. &34;Mining License&34;, valid for 25 years. In addition, China is also actively importing iron ore from India and Brazil. Maybe it won’t be long. The impact of the corruption case more than ten years ago will be completely eliminated. Australia will no longer be able to threaten us with iron ore.