China values ties with India

Beijing : After India protested the illegal confinement and alleged torture of two Indian traders in China, Beijing has said it values relations with New Delhi.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China attached great importance to friendly relations with India and “hopes the Indian side will treat the case in an objective and fair manner”.

He, however, described as inaccurate media reports that an Indian diplomat was mistreated and hospitalized while offering consular services to two Indian traders on trial in the eastern city of Yiwu.

“We hope that Indian authorities could deal with this matter fairly and objectively” and ensure that Indian businessmen in China abide by Chinese laws and regulations, China Daily quoted him as saying.

The spokesman added the case was triggered by economic disputes and China’s judicial authorities were now handling the case in accordance with the law.

Media reports said S. Balachandran, from the Indian consulate general in Shanghai, was not allowed access to food and medication and was attacked by a crowd while offering consular assistance to the Indian businessmen.

The businessmen, Shyamsundar Agrawal and Deepak Raheja, alleged that they were illegally detained and tortured “like animals” after their business owner fled, angering the unpaid Chinese employees.

Following extensive coverage of their plight in the Indian media, New Delhi summoned Chinese diplomats and urged them to provide justice to the two Indians. The two were then shifted to Shanghai.

“China is a country under the rule of law, and relevant Chinese departments have always protected the legal rights of Indian citizens in China,” Hong said.

He said China abided by the Vienna Convention and ensured the personal safety of foreign consular officials.

The incident in Yiwu happened when Balachandran was leaving a court after prolonged negotiations on the night of Dec 31, the reports said.

Hong said the two Indian businessmen involved in the hearing were now staying in a hotel under police protection and had freedom of movement. Police detained five other people on suspicion of “illegal detention”.

An advisory on the website of India’s embassy in Beijing Tuesday urged Indians not to do business in Yiwu because they could also be mistreated there and had “no guarantee of legal remedies”.

Yiwu, a small city in eastern China, is a hub of the nation’s small-commodity business.

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