The traders were arrested in China on Jan 2010 for allegedly smuggling diamonds. Various efforts to release them yielded no results. The deportation is seen as a result of Modi's recent visit to China where he apprised the Chinese authorities of the conditions of the jailed traders.
A press release by Modi after the news of the traders being freed broke out, stated, "During my visit to China in November, I took up the case of 22 Indian youth, who are lodged in a Chinese jail, before the Chinese leadership purely on humanitarian ground. I emphasised that Indian nationals languishing in a Chinese jail for the last two years should be given speedy trial and they should get justice. I am thankful to the Chinese Government for expediting the trial and ensuring that judgment is delivered today."
The matter was highlighted prior to Modi'as visit to China where the Indian officials sought his involvement into the matter. The release also added, "After Modi"s intervention, the case was taken up by the Chinese authority on priority. As a first step, Chinese authorities allowed Indian Ambassador to China Dr S Jaishankar and Counsel General, Guangzhou, Indramani Pandey, to meet these 22 detainees."
The verdict was welcomed by the diamond traders in Gujarat. Rajeev Jain, Chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said, “We welcome the verdict, though we are unhappy as some of them have been convicted."