The government of Taiwan is alleging that Chinese officials have kidnapped eight of its nationals after a Kenyan court acquitted them of fraud.
The Taiwanese government said Chinese officials forced the eight people onto a Chinese plane for the mainland, even though a court order “kept them in Kenya.”
“By the time our official rushed to the airport, the eight Taiwan citizens had been forcefully taken to a passenger plane of China Southern Airlines and sent to the mainland,” exclaimed Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry. “The foreign ministry demands that the mainland immediately send the eight people back to Taiwan.”
The officials described China’s actions as an “uncivilised act of extrajudicial abduction” and a “gross violation of basic human rights.”
“I might need further understanding of the exact details of the case, but in principle, countries which follow the ‘one China’ principle are worthy of approval,” said Lu Kang, China’s foreign ministry spokesman.
The Kenyan government said they allowed Chinese forces to take the Taiwanese nationals because “that was the route they took to enter the country.” Mwenda Njoka, spokesman for Kenya’s Interior Ministry, said all of them entered the country “illegally, without proper documents.” He also said the country does not “want to get involved.”
“There are still some here — another batch will be deported tomorrow,” concluded Njoka.
Kenyan officials accused the eight, along with 23 other Taiwanese and 76 Chinese nationals, of participating in a telephone fraud ring. The officials arrested them at the end of 2015. They charged them “with illegal entry and telecommunications fraud.”
Kenya does not have any “formal ties with Taiwan” but does maintain “diplomatic relations with China.” Last week, Kenya announced that China will loan them $600 million “to help fund a 2015/16 budget deficit.”
“We are in the process now of finalising the financing agreement. We expect very shortly the funds will be coming in,” explained Kamau Thuge, principal secretary at the Treasury.
Taiwan and China separated in 1949 “when China’s Nationalist government fled to Taiwan in a civil war against the Communists.” Twenty-two countries recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state.
Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s first female president in January after she won 56 percent of the vote. Her win ends eight years of rule for the Kuomintang Party, which finds itself aligned more closely with China than Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party.
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has condemned the DPP.
“As the cornerstone of cross-Straits relations, the consensus insists there is only one China, of which both the mainland and Taiwan are a part, though the meaning of ‘one China’ is open to interpretation by both sides,” the paper stated in an editorial. “For a Taiwan leader, whether to accept the consensus or not decides which direction he or she would lead the island in: peace and stability, or conflicts and tension. The issue bears no ambiguity.”
They added: “The bottom line shall never be tested. Any attempt to steer the island closer to independence will be a fool’s errand.”