Hundreds of Taiwanese extradited to China, says report

Beijing argued that Taiwanese suspects in some overseas cases should be extradited to China as their victims included mainland Chinese
A new report by a human rights group has found more than 600 Taiwanese arrested overseas have been deported to China in recent years.

Safeguard Defenders says the practice was being “used as a tool to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty”.

Taiwan, which considers itself an independent nation, has long insisted that Taiwanese arrested abroad should be sent back to the island.

But Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that is a part of China.

Safeguard Defenders said the deportations, which it collated from media reports between 2016 and 2019, were “being used to bolster Beijing’s influence abroad” and accused China of “hunting” down these Taiwanese.

The Spain-based group pointed out that the Taiwanese sent to China “have no roots and no families”, and warned that they were at risk of persecution and severe human rights abuses.

It argues several nations are breaching international human rights laws in following extradition treaties with Beijing, and singled out Spain and Kenya for extraditing the most number of Taiwanese people to China.

China in the past argued that the Taiwanese suspects in some cases should be extradited to China as their victims included mainland Chinese.

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No information was provided in the report on the fate of Taiwanese extradited to China, but the group noted that at least two were shown on Chinese TV giving public apologies.

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It also highlighted a 2016 case in Kenya, where authorities there defended their decision to send a group of Chinese and Taiwanese people – some of whom were acquitted – to China, due to the African nation’s lack of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

In 2017, Taiwan attempted negotiations on several occasions with Cambodian authorities to cancel the extradition of a group of Taiwanese people to China, but failed.

In response to the latest report, Taiwan’s government was quoted by AFP as saying China “does not have jurisdiction” over Taiwanese arrested or convicted abroad, and that Beijing aims to “show its sovereignty over Taiwan”.

“We again urge the Chinese side that crime-fighting should not involve politics and we hope law enforcement units on both sides can continue to cooperate on existing basis to effectively fight crimes and protest public welfare,” it said.

China has yet to respond.

Under the “One China” policy, Beijing has insisted that any country that wants diplomatic relations with China must first break official ties with Taiwan. This has resulted in Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation from the international community.

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