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Kenya Deporting More Taiwanese Citizens to China


Chen Ting-fei, a lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), displays a justice agreement signed between Taiwan and China to the press at Parliament in Taipei, April 12, 2016.

Kenya has deported another group of Taiwanese nationals to China, after a similar action prompted Taiwan to accuse Beijing of kidnapping.

Taiwan foreign ministry chief of West Asian and African Affairs Antonio Chen, speaking Tuesday, said 37 nationals were put onto a Chinese plane for a flight from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to mainland China.

Chan said after 15 of the nationals refused to leave the police station for the airport that Kenyan police fired tear gas in the jail and broke through the wall to force the group out.

The 37 Taiwanese deported Tuesday, along with the eight citizens expelled earlier, were arrested in Kenya in 2014 and charged with cyber crime. A Kenyan court dismissed the charges and gave the group 21 days to leave the country.

The current crisis stems from Taiwan's decades-long struggle to be recognized as an independent entity separate and apart from China's rule. However, Beijing still claims Taiwan as part of its domain, and most governments across the globe, including Nairobi's, do as well.

Asked Tuesday by VOA Swahili service whether the Kenyan government consulted with Taipei ahead of the deportations, Home Affairs Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said: "We don't have that relationship with Taiwan."

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang thanked Nairobi for observing the government's "one-China" policy.

Earlier, Taipei angrily accused Beijing of pressuring Kenya to deport its citizens to China. Officials said it sent diplomats from its outpost in South Africa to Kenya to deal with the situation, because Nairobi sides diplomatically with China over Taiwan.

China has been stepping up pressure on Taiwan's president-elect, Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, who disputes Beijing’s precondition that both sides can talk only as parts of a single China.

"We would like to use public pressure to influence the [Kenyan] government. Secondly we would like to ask human rights groups to issue an investigation into Kenya's police department. And third, we will hire lawyers to file lawsuits against Kenya's police department," said Antonio Chen, Taiwan Foreign Ministry chief of West Asian and African affairs.