Indian embassy swayed by nationalism

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-1-5 20:43:00

The Indian media has been hyping the collapse of an Indian diplomat in a court in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province. Even the Indian foreign minister reacted to the news and small-scale protest movements appeared in New Delhi.

The details of the incident are still not clear. The story seems to be that two Indian businessmen owed money in Yiwu, and were, according to the Indian media, held hostage by their Chinese partners for three weeks. 

An Indian diplomat attended a court in Yiwu to try and get the local police to "rescue" the two businessmen. The Indian media reported that the diplomat suffers from diabetes and that officials refused to allow him to eat or take his medicine in the court for seven hours, which resulted in him fainting. However, the local authorities dispute this claim. 

The Indian embassy in China has warned all the Indian businessmen not to do business in Yiwu, as "Indian businessmen/traders can be illegally held under detention and mistreated by Chinese businessmen there.  Based on experience, there is no guarantee that legal remedies will be readily available," The Indian media praised this announcement, and they may think that it can teach a lesson to the people of Yiwu.

The diplomat's fainting does not prove that he was maltreated. Public opinion in India is making too much of a fuss about this incident, and India's foreign ministry is surrendering to public opinion.

Yiwu is the largest small commodity distributing center in East Asia, and is also famous in the world.

Indian businessmen no doubt come to Yiwu on their own. Yiwu and other cities in China welcome Indians to do business, but they should obey rules. If they cannot get rid of their bad habit of defaulting on debts, both Chinese and foreign businessmen will keep away from them. The international trade in Yiwu doesn't tolerate unethical business.

The Indian official announcement describes Yiwu as a terrible place. However, a great deal of foreigners stay and do business in Yiwu, and the security of the town is obvious to all. But are the Indian businessmen involved trustworthy? The conflict this time is the confrontation between nationalist sentiment of Indians and the steady market regulations of Yiwu. It is interesting to see whether Indian businessmen or Yiwu market will lose the prestige when news of this incident spreads.

Chinese society has no stomach to argue with the Indian press over this incident. In fact, without the excessive reports of Indian media and the action of the Indian embassy, the incident is only the unnoticed news in China that will be ignored soon.

Chinese society has no prejudice against India.

We can understand that Indian media is nationalistically hyping this dispute. However, we don't like the unjustified way in which Indian officials deal with Sino-Indian issues.

They always think Indian press is free, while Chinese public opinions should be discounted. But over the incident in Yiwu, the actions of India's foreign ministry are full of narrow nationalism, which is not much wiser than the editors of Indian media. India's foreign ministry should remember that Sino-Indian friendship needs common efforts to be maintained.

The article is an editorial published Thursday on the Chinese edition of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.

Posted in: Editorial

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