Thursday, January 5, 2012


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
The International Commodities market is located in a growing city named YIWU in Zhejiang province of China. If you are in business and wish to go there to make use of the booming economy of the Middle Kingdom, Pudong airport in Shanghai is the pace to land. You may hire a car for Yiwu for USD 130 and reach your destination in four hours. Obviously you will look for a hotel that accepts the Indian Rupee, pay Rs 4475 upwards for a good room of international standard and have a sound sleep. However, before venturing out into the chaotic Chinese market, do check up with the bell Captain of the hotel that God is in Heaven and all is well with China.
Just a day or two before the Videsh Mantralaya, Bharat Sarkar has Advisory encouraging Indian businessmen not to visit Yiwu trading centre in China or do business with them. It is so because the local traders had got hold of two Indian traders named Shyam Sundar Agarwal and Deepak Raheja and kept them locked up as hostages for almost 20 days for non-payment of a debt incurred by their employer, a Yemeni businessman. The Indians were dragged to a local court of law where they pleaded that their employer should be brought to book and not the Indians as they were only employees.
The Indian Counsellor in Shanghai, Shri Balachandran who enjoys diplomatic immunity was present in the court room to facilitate communication. A large hostile crowd had assembled there and they not only made menacingly hostile gestures but used abusive language against Indians and even manhandled the Counsellor and the Indian businessmen. The former fainted but no medical assistance was provided to him. Shri Raheja’s brother in Bharat has authentic information that the Chinese crowd tore the clothes of the Indians and stripped them naked in the court room. The real culprit in the monetary transaction, the Yemeni citizen, was absconding and Indians bore the brunt. The Chinese administrative authorities declined to intervene until money matters were sorted out. As per the International Law, it was dereliction of duty on the part of the Chinese officials.
The Govt of India intervened and got in touch with their counterparts in Beijing. It was only then that the courtroom showed some semblance of order. Rule of Law was non-existent until then. The Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi, Zhang Yen has been boasting of his country been a civilised one but in the Yiwu incident there was no trace of civilisation. It is learnt that now five of the rioting traders of Yiwu have been detained by the local police for interrogation.
It is learnt from business circles that the travel and business advisory issued by the Govt of India had a salutary effect as the business circles in China feared losing large business with India. India is a big market for ready- made clothing items and toys made in China. Of late, China has suffered a dent in its building contracts overseas and the rural labour has returned to villages causing social unrest. Beijing does not wish to have more problems on the economic front than it could handle. Therefore, the administration has swung into action , though belatedly.
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