Yiwu Court Hearing: “no Way to treat a Diplomat”

S. Balachandran (巴拉钱德兰), a 46-year old Indian consular official in Shanghai and a diabetic, was forced to attend a five-hour hearing in support of two Indian traders at China’s Yiwu city (义乌市) near Shanghai, on December 31, reports India Today. The diplomat had reportedly asked to be allowed to attend to his medical condition, but was prevented from leaving the courtroom. According to India Today, Balachandran was ‘manhandled’ by the crowd that tried to snatch two kidnapped Indians who clung to him – the two Indian traders, Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Agrawal, had been held hostage by [..] local traders for two weeks for non-payment of dues by their company, whose owner had allegedly fled the country, India Today writes in another article. India’s government summoned a Chinese diplomat to the ministry of foreign affairs to convey its displeasure.

The two Indian traders reportedly remain in custody. The court hearing was scheduled to continue on Tuesday.

The Times of India‘s Economic Times basically reports the same story.

Yiwu City

is famous for its small commodity trade and vibrant free markets and is a regional tourist destination. Although administratively Yiwu is a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Jinhua, it is more well-known than Jinhua nationally and internationally.

While the above press reports appear to suggest that Balachandran’s eventual hospitalization had been a result either of not having attended to his diabetes condition during the hearing, or having been manhandled (or both), the BBC‘s Chinese service quotes an Indian diplomat who spoke anonymously, and who reportedly said that Balachandran’s problems had been a result of his medical condition, not of manhandling.

According to a Reuters report on Monday,

China has agreed to look into a complaint by India’s foreign ministry that a diplomat was prevented from treating his severe diabetes and collapsed while offering consular assistance to two Indian citizens on trial in China’s Yiwu city.

An Indian government source who declined to be named told Reuters that “[w]e have taken it up pretty strongly with the Chinese, that this is no way to treat a diplomat, that he should be allowed access to medication”.

India’s Beijing embassy spokesman Vinayak Chavan is quoted by the India Times (Economic Times) as saying that Balachandran was not badly hurt. “It was not that serious, but there was some manhandling,” Chavan said.

Deutsche Welle‘s (Voice of Germany) Chinese website reports that the Indian foreign office had summoned China’s deputy ambassador,

and protested against an Indian diplomat’s rough [or rude/violent, 粗暴] treatment in a court at Yiwu, an eastern-China coastal city. An Indian foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the deputy ambassador had been summoned to express India’s dissatisfaction. Last Saturday, Indian diplomat S. Balachandran was beaten by Chinese traders when attending a court hearing of two Indian traders and was then taken to hospital. Press Trust of India reported that Balachandran attended the hearing to learn about traders’ situation, as they had been detained for alleged amounts due for payment. Indian-Chinese relations have long been affected by border disputes and the Dalai Lama’s exile in India. Despite increasing bilateral trade, competition for resources and for influence abroad, the two countries, both closing catching up with developed countries, are suspicious of each other.

印度外交部周一(1月2日)召见中国驻印度副大使,对一名印度外交官在中国东部沿海城市义乌的法庭上遭粗暴对待提出抗议。印外交部一名不愿透露姓名的官员 称,照见中国副大使是为表达印方的不满。上周六,印度驻华外交官巴拉钱德兰(S. Balachandran)在义乌一家法院出庭一桩印中商人纠纷案庭审时遭到中方商人殴打,后被送往医院。据印度报业托拉斯报道,巴拉钱德兰出庭是为了解 两名印度商人因所谓欠款而被拘押的情况。印中关系因边界争议和流亡藏人宗教领袖达赖喇嘛流亡印度而长期受到影响。虽然双边贸易增加,因争夺资源和在海外的 影响力,印中这两个已接近发达的国家对对方仍满腹狐疑。

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Related

Businessman’s Getaway, July 5, 2010

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