Hundreds of Taiwanese extradited to China, the report says

Picture of a Chinese flag

Beijing argued that in some overseas cases, Taiwanese suspects should be extradited to China as their victims included Chinese from the mainland

A new report from a human rights group has found that more than 600 Taiwanese detainees abroad have been deported to China in recent years.

Safeguard Defenders says the practice was “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 part of China.

Safeguard Defenders said the deportations, which it summarized from media reports between 2016 and 2019, were “used to strengthen Beijing’s influence abroad” and accused China of “chasing” these Taiwanese.

The Spanish-based group pointed out that the Taiwanese sent to China had “no roots and no families” and warned that they were in danger of persecution and serious human rights violations.

It claims that several nations are violating international human rights laws by following extradition treaties with Beijing and designated Spain and Kenya to extradite the largest number of Taiwanese to China.

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

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

It also highlighted a 2016 case in Kenya in which the 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 relations with Taiwan.

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

In response to the latest report, the Taiwanese government was quoted by AFP as saying that China “has no jurisdiction” over Taiwanese arrested or convicted abroad and that Beijing aims to “show its sovereignty over Taiwan”.

“We reiterate our strong call on the Chinese side that crime prevention should not involve politics, and we hope that law enforcement agencies on both sides can continue to work together on an existing basis to effectively combat crime and protest against public welfare,” it said.

China has not yet responded.

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

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