China to provide consular assistance to Vivo employees arrested in India

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will provide consular protection and assistance to two Chinese employees of smartphone maker Vivo arrested by Indian authorities and urges India not to discriminate against Chinese companies, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

“We are closely following what you mentioned. The Chinese government firmly supports Chinese companies to safeguard their lawful rights and interests,” Mao Ning told a regular press conference.

India’s financial crime-fighting agency last week arrested two senior employees of Vivo’s India unit, a move the company vowed to challenge legally.

The two were brought to a Delhi court on Saturday and sent to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody, a person directly involved with the case told Reuters.

The Vivo employees, whose identity Reuters could not confirm, will appear in court on Tuesday, said the source, who asked not to be named as they were not authorised to talk to the media.

The arrests came two months after the Enforcement Directorate arrested four industry executives, including a Chinese national, working for Vivo’s Indian unit in a case of alleged money laundering, charges the firm has denied.

(Reporting by Andrew Hayley and Albee Zhang; Editing by William Mallard)