Two groups of Taiwanese citizens were deported from Kenya and forcibly taken by Chinese officials onto flights to China last Friday and this Tuesday. The 45 Taiwanese citizens were among two larger groups of mostly Chinese citizens accused of telecommunication frauds targeting victims in China. Kenya High Court acquitted 37 individuals, 23 of which are Taiwanese, of fraud on April 5 and ordered these individuals to leave Kenya within 21 days. Chinese embassy officials, with assistance from Kenyan police, forced a group of the accused, including 8 Taiwanese citizens, onto a China Southern Airlines flight last Friday. On April 8, the second group accused of telecommunication frauds, including 22 Taiwanese citizens, was arrested. The remaining 15 from the first group and 22 from the second group were forcibly put on a charter China Southern Airlines flight to Beijing on Tuesday. Kenyan police reportedly used tear gas to subdue those resisting deportation and lied about Taiwan’s government having arranged plane tickets to return them home.
Due to the lack of diplomatic relationship between Taiwan and Kenya, officials from Taiwan’s representative office in South Africa dispatched to Kenya had difficulty gaining access to those arrested.
China maintains that it has jurisdiction over the case because victims of the case are Chinese citizens, and praised the Kenyan authorities for upholding the “One China” policy.
Why does this matter? PRC considers its laws applicable to all PRC nationals, supposedly including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. That means, if PRC wants, they can use any charges against Taiwanese citizens abroad and forcibly abduct them to be tried in the PRC. Read more about the incidents on New York Times and Al Jazeera.