BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- China has lodged solemn representations to Zambia for detaining 31 Chinese nationals, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday.
"China never defends illegal actions, but opposes 'selective' law-enforcement actions against its citizens overseas," Hua said at a routine press briefing.
According to Hua, the 31 Chinese nationals, who were working for copper smelting Chinese companies in the African country, were detained by police of Zambia's Copperbelt province for suspected illegal purchasing of copper tailing raw materials.
Hua said the Chinese Foreign Ministry lodged solemn representations to the Zambian embassy in Beijing on Sunday, urging the country to properly handle the issue and release the innocent as soon as possible.
The Chinese embassy in Zambia has sent a working group to the site to offer consular protection to the detainees, Hua said.
The Chinese government has always asked Chinese companies and citizens to respect the laws of the countries where they operate, Hua said.
China will continue to pay close attention to developments in the case and urge the Zambian side to properly settle the issue in accordance with the law, she said.