Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has accused Chinese officials of “extrajudicial abduction” after 8 Taiwanese acquitted of fraud in Kenya were deported to mainland China on Friday.
The ministry said the acquitted were forced onto a China-bound plane against their will. It called the move an “uncivilized act” representing a “gross violation of basic human rights.”
The 8 Taiwanese are among 23 people accused of running a telephone-fraud ring in Kenya. They were arrested late last year in and charged with illegal entry and telecommunications fraud. The group also had some Chinese nationals. All Taiwanese and some Chinese were later acquitted.
The 8 Taiwanese were detained Friday while trying to retrieve their passports.
Taiwan also accuses Chinese officials of violating a court order that would have kept the 8 acquitted in Kenya. They also say Chinese officials prevented Taiwan from reaching the acquitted. Taiwan has demanded for their release as well as the release of 15 Taiwanese still in custody.
The move comes as cross-strait relations deteriorate, according to the BBC’s Cindy Sui.
China does not recognize Taiwan’s independence and considers it a part of the mainland. Beijing has also refused to have formal discussions with Taiwan’s new, independence-leaning president Tsai Ing-wen until she recognizes Taiwan as part of China. Ma met with President Xi Jinping in November in what is seen by many analysts as a strictly-symbolic meeting.