In the wake of ill-treatment of two Indian businessmen near Shanghai, China has initiated criminal proceedings against five locals suspected for the act as it promised to address the issue and give due attention to the safety of Indian nationals on its soil.

The assurance was given by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan when he met Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry, on Wednesday afternoon.

The envoy said “serious attention” was being given to the issue related to the two businessmen and hoped that it would be resolved as quickly as possible, sources said.

The Ambassador also assured the MEA that due attention was being given to the safety of Indian nationals and businessmen, they said.

The assurance coincided with the criminal action being initiated against five Chinese nationals who are suspected to have been involved in the ill-treatment of the two Indian businessmen — Shyamsunder Agarwal and Deepak Raheja, the sources said.

Mr. Agarwal and Mr. Raheja have complained of ill-treatment and torture ever since they were “kidnapped” on December 15, 2011 by some local people.

The locals, working with a company, have been demanding payment of their dues after the owner of the firm fled.

Mr. Agarwal and Mr. Raheja say they are merely employees of a company which owed money to its Chinese suppliers and their employer has fled without clearing the dues.

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