Seizing Rio Tinto employees will damage China's business

Douglas McIntyre

China is detaining four employees of metals giant Rio Tinto (RTP). The nation claims that the employees spied on secret information about China's steel industry. Rio Tinto sells iron and other key mined commodities to the mainland.

The odd part of the detentions is that China has not provided details about the charges against the Rio managers. It may not be a coincidence that Rio recently killed a $19.5 billion investment it planned to take from Chinese metals firm Chinalco under pressure from the Australian government, which did not want to see the company's "strategic assets" fall under Chinese control.