Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is facing mounting calls to personally intervene in the case of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu, amid reports the Chinese President authorised the investigation that led to his detention.
Chinese diplomats will meet with Australian officials later today as the Government continues to push for more information about the case against Mr Hu, who has been accused of commercial espionage in relation to iron ore agreements.
Today's Fairfax newspapers are reporting that Chinese President Hu Jintao personally approved the Ministry of State Security investigation which led to Stern Hu's detention.
The issue could become a diplomatic and political nightmare for Mr Rudd, with China insisting the evidence against Mr Hu is strong.
Neither Mr Rudd - who has today returned from a week-long overseas trip - nor Foreign Minister Steven Smith have spoken to their counterparts about Mr Hu, who has been accused of bribing Chinese steel companies during iron ore price negotiations this year.More...