By Arthur Kroeber
Is China turning into Russia? After last month’s arrest of the head of Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in China, reportedly on suspicion of spying, one could be forgiven for thinking so.
By Russia, we mean a country in which ordinary commercial negotiations are routinely subject to interference by state security forces, where foreign companies face constant risk of arbitrary abrogation of contracts and expropriation of assets, and business executives quite rationally fear for their liberty and occasionally their lives.
Fortunately, it appears that a lot of people within the Chinese government were asking exactly the same question, and desperately trying to convince their superiors that the correct answer ought to be “No.”