China on Wednesday denied that the Indian diplomat who fainted and was hospitalised while negotiating the release of two Indian traders held hostage in the trade hub of Yiwu in eastern China was ill-treated and denied to access to food and medicine.
The denial, the government’s first reaction to the incident which led to the summoning of the Deputy Chief of Mission Zhang Yue in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs, came even as the ordeal of the two Indian traders continued. Shyamsunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja continued to be holed up in a hotel in Yiwu, 300 km from Shanghai, surrounded by locals. They have been given police protection.
Beijing also urged New Delhi to look at the incident from an “objective and just perspective” and ensure that Indian businessmen follow Chinese laws while doing business here.
On allegations that diplomat S Balachandran was manhandled, the government said that China “ensures the physical security for foreign counsellor officials and provide convenience and facilities for them to carry out their duties.”
“China hopes that the Indian side will look at this case from objective and just perspective and educate and get the Indian businessmen in China to abide by China's laws and regulations and conduct business in good faith,” Hong Lei, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday.
On the issue of the two Indian traders being illegally detained by a mob, angry at been defrauded of millions of Yuan, he said legal proceedings were being initiated against five persons. “Public Security officials of Yiwu have adopted criminal enforcement measure against five suspects who were involved in illegal detention and relevant case is due for investigation,” he added.
“China always attaches great importance to maintaining the rights and interests of foreign businessmen in China. The two Indian businessmen are in the hotel. They are afraid to take actions and the local police have taken measures to ensure their security,” Hong Lei said.
Meanwhile, speaking to HT from Delhi, Pawan Kumar of the Federation of Sadar Bazar Trades Association said more than 200 traders from the market go to Yiwu every month to do business. ``The advantage is that in Yiwu we can even by small quantities (five to 10 cartons) of goods. The locals are mostly very cooperative,’’ Kumar, who himself goes to Yiwu once every two months, said.
A report by the Office of the US Trade Representative in December had listed Yiwu as among 15 “notorious markets” dealing in pirated and counterfeit goods. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, the USTR report described “as a center for the wholesaling of pirated goods and the market of origin for many counterfeit goods.”
More than 1.7 million kinds of small commodities, mostly consumer goods, are sold around the world each year from the Yiwu Small Commodities Market, the Xinhua report added.India warning against China trading hub | Diplomat ill treated in China, India protests | India protests diplomat's manhandling