时事风云 | 2010.03.30
人权组织"大赦国际"德国分部秘书长莫妮卡·吕克（Monika Lüke）介绍说，全世界在2009年判决和执行了死刑的国家中，中国的死刑数量位居第一，"我们知道的是，中国执行死刑的数量是全世界最多的，但是我们 不知道具体的数字。过去中国方面多次'滥用'我们的统计数字，而我们公布的数字其实都是至少执行死刑的数量。中国的死刑数量实际上要多得多。对许多人的死 刑判决在两天内就结束，而且司法程序相当不公。"
根据"大赦国际"统计的情况，2009年除中国以外，伊朗、伊拉克、沙特阿拉伯和美国执行死刑的数量也属较多之列。中国、伊朗和苏丹还将死刑作为政 治手段，用来清除反政府力量或反对派。具体到伊朗，德国"大赦国际"秘书长介绍说，他们掌握的数字是，在2009年，伊朗至少对388人执行了死刑，特别 集中在09年6月，艾哈迈迪内贾德连任成功引发国内大规模抗议示威期间，伊朗至少处死112人，其中甚至包括不满18岁的未成年人。吕克表示，伊朗当局这 是完全违背国际法的做法。
在谈到美国的死刑问题时，吕克表示，美国必须在废除死刑方面取得进展，"美国执行死刑的数量从08年的30增加到去年的50多例。在美国还有 3000多死囚犯，随时等待执行死刑。美国有35个联邦州没有废除死刑，还要强调的是，奥巴马总统也不是反对、而是支持死刑的。如果美国在废除死刑问题上 没有进步，就很难对中国和日本等国施压。"
与此同时，全世界范围内废除死刑的趋势愈加明显。139个国家已经废除死刑。而在1977年，"大赦国际"刚刚开始进行反对死刑的一系列工作时，全 世界只有15个国家废除了死刑。吕克将多哥和布隆迪在2009年废除死刑称为反死刑工作的又一成就。欧洲去年没有执行死刑。俄罗斯宪法法院也延长了暂停死 刑法令。非洲大陆去年执行了死刑的国家有苏丹和博茨瓦纳。
作者：Sabine Ripperger / 谢菲
China Sentences Rio Tinto Employees in Bribe Case
By DAVID BARBOZA
Published: March 29, 2010
SHANGHAI — Four employees of the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, including an Australian citizen, were found guilty Monday of accepting millions of dollars in bribes and stealing commercial secrets.
Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News
They were given sentences of 7 years to 14 years in prison, and were later dismissed by their employer.
Rio Tinto, which until Monday had defended its employees, said court evidence showing that in recent years the employees had accepted about $13.5 million in bribes was “beyond doubt.” Stern Hu, the Australian citizen who served as Rio Tinto’s general manager in Shanghai, was sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and five years for stealing business secrets.
Although the court reduced his sentence to 10 years in prison, it is still one of the stiffest sentences ever handed down against a high-ranking executive working for a multinational company here.
The verdict, which comes shortly after Google decided to pull its search engine out of Beijing, is the latest indication that China is taking a harder line with foreign companies doing business in China.
Rio Tinto was not charged in the case, but in announcing its verdict Monday, the court essentially accused the company of using stolen information to harm China’s economic interests, costing Chinese steel mills an additional $150 million last year alone.
From 2003 to 2009, the court said, the four defendants used “improper means” to gain information that allowed Rio Tinto to “jack up the price that China paid for its iron ore imports.” The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said that it would soon charge at least two Chinese steel industry officials with passing trade secrets to Rio Tinto.
Jerome A. Cohen, a professor of law at New York University and an expert on the Chinese legal system, criticized the court for holding largely closed proceedings and for conducting a trial that appeared to favor the prosecution and deny the defendants due process.
The verdict, he said, has not resolved those issues.
“The question is: can we trust the facts?” Mr. Cohen said by telephone Monday. “It’s now clear the prosecution was related to the iron ore negotiations. It’s O.K. to prosecute for wrongdoing. But this seems to be a selective prosecution. This case has done a lot to show the world the problem of China’s justice system.”
The verdict Monday is almost certain to deepen diplomatic tensions between Australia and China over the handling of the case. It will also cast a pall over Rio Tinto’s iron ore negotiations here, which are now under way.
Rio Tinto is one of the biggest suppliers of iron ore to China, which imports tens of billions of dollars’ worth of iron ore every year — a vital component for steel that is fueling this booming economy.
After the verdict, Australia’s foreign minister, Stephen Smith, called Mr. Hu’s seven year sentence on bribery charges “very harsh,” according to The Associated Press.
Rio Tinto released a separate statement saying it could not comment on the trade secrets charges because it had not studied the evidence and that part of the trial was closed to the public.
But the company said that by accepting huge bribes, its employees had engaged in “deplorable behavior” that was clearly at odds with the company’s ethical culture.
Rio Tinto said that an internal investigation after the arrests had found no evidence of wrongdoing. The company now says it believes the Shanghai employees acted “wholly outside our systems.” At a three-day trial that took place here last week, the four employees all pleaded guilty to accepting some bribes, though several of the men denied stealing commercial secrets, according to lawyers involved in the case.
Lawyers for the four defendants say they are now trying to decide whether to appeal the verdict.
In addition to Stern Hu, three Chinese colleagues were also charged with taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets — Wang Yong, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui. Mr. Wang received a 14-year prison sentence, Mr. Ge received eight years and Mr. Liu got seven years. They were also told to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The Rio Tinto case has drawn international attention because of concerns that the four employees were arrested on trumped-up charges as well as worries about whether the employees could get a fair trial.
The four men were initially arrested in July on suspicions of espionage and stealing state secrets from Chinese state-owned steel companies.
But after protests from Australian officials and foreign executives about the seriousness of the espionage accusations, the men were formally charged on the lesser charges of bribery and stealing commercial secrets.
Some legal analysts said the arrests indicated that China was retaliating against Rio Tinto for its decision last year to scrap plans to accept a $19.5 billion investment from one of the biggest Chinese mining companies.
But soon after, a growing number of analysts surmised that the arrests might have grown out of the country’s tough negotiations with foreign suppliers over iron ore prices.
Before the detentions, the Chinese steel industry association had repeatedly attacked Rio Tinto and other foreign iron ore suppliers for driving up the price of ore and negotiating unfairly.
The price of iron ore had skyrocketed in 2007 and early 2008.
Chinese steel producers have publicly worried that foreign iron ore producers are forming cartels that could manipulate prices and harm the country’s huge steel industry.
Monday, the court confirmed that iron ore negotiations were at the center of the case and insisted that Rio Tinto employees were passing secrets to top negotiators for the company.
The court did not, however, explain whether the Rio Tinto employees paid to get hold of that information, or even what kind of information was passed on.
But the court said that in June 2009 Mr. Hu and Mr. Wang each met an executive from Shougang Steel — a big Chinese steel maker — and obtained confidential information from the China Iron & Steel Association, the government-controlled body that negotiates iron ore prices with foreign suppliers.
Some Chinese legal experts defended the court’s action, saying the government was taking a tougher approach with foreign companies doing business here.
“The Rio Tinto case is sending a signal to the world, that China’s model of managing its financial activities has changed,” said Liu Junhai, a professor of law at Renmin University in Beijing. “In the past, we overemphasized the country’s development, but didn’t pay enough attention to regulation.”
Bao Beibei contributed research