2 Indians say they're being held hostage in China
NEW DELHI—Two Indian traders working in China say they are being held hostage by local businessmen in an eastern city because of a dispute with their boss over money.
Deepak Raheja told the Times Now news channel in a telephone interview Wednesday that he and another Indian were beaten and have not been allowed to leave their hotel in Yiwu city.
News reports said local Chinese businessmen have demanded $1 million for the traders' release.
The case has triggered widespread media coverage in India. On Wednesday, about 50 activists from a Hindu nationalist group burned the Chinese flag and chanted anti-China slogans in New Delhi.
News reports also said that an Indian diplomat collapsed in a courtroom in Yiwu while trying to secure the two men's release. They said consular official P. Balachandran, who suffers from diabetes, was not allowed to eat or take his medication while in the room.
The reports said the traders were working for a Yemeni businessmen, but that could not be confirmed.
India's foreign ministry has not commented on the matter, but its embassy in Beijing warned Indians against working in Yiwu, saying there was no guarantee of legal protection in the city.
China's Foreign Ministry said the incident was an individual case involving an economic dispute and police are ensuring the Indian men's safety.
"China always attaches great importance to maintaining the rights and interests of foreign businessmen in China," ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing Wednesday.
He said the two Indians were in a hotel and not in detention, and that police had taken measures to ensure their security. He also said police were investigating five Chinese suspected of illegally detaining the pair, but gave no other details.
Hong denied mistreatment of the Indian official.
"Reports saying the Indian consular official was forbidden to take food and medicine and was besieged during his stay in Yiwu are not true," he said.