Kenyan authorities this morning deported five Taiwanese nationals to China after they were acquitted of telecommunications fraud, a second incident involving the African nation this year that will likely further strain relations between Taipei and Beijing.

A Kenyan court acquitted 35 Chinese and the five Taiwanese on Friday and stated that the Taiwanese were to be deported back to Taiwan. However, pressure from Beijing appears to have prevailed upon the Kenyan government.

“We regret that Kenyan authorities bowed to pressure from China to forcefully deport five suspects to China, and express strong protest to the Kenya government,” Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today.

Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) says this development was a violation of human rights and that Taipei will “request the Chinese government deport the Taiwanese to Taiwan as soon as possible to protect their freedom and judicial rights.”

In a statement, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, the agency in charge of cross-Strait relations, said “The Chinese ignored our requests and seriously hurt the feelings of Taiwanese people.”

The Executive Yuan said it will continue to negotiate with Chinese authorities to secure the return of the five nationals to Taiwan.

Human rights organization Amnesty International on Aug. 5 called for Kenyan authorities to not deport the five Taiwanese to China.

“If deported to China, they could face serious violations of their fair trial rights. There is no doubt Kenya cherishes its relationship with China, but by no means should it sacrifice these individuals’ rights for political expediency, the due process of the law must be respected,” said Victor Odero, Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner. “The right thing to do is to release them and ensure their safe return to Taiwan.”

Today's deportations follow a similar incident in April, when 23 Taiwanese nationals were deported to China from Kenya, also in relation to telecom fraud.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole