Kenya is preparing to deport 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 says 37 nationals were put onto a Chinese plane for a flight from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to mainland China.
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Chan says after 15 of the nationals refused to leave the police station for the airport, Kenyan police fired tear gas in the jail and broke through the wall to force the group out.
The 37 Taiwanese slated to be deported Tuesday, along with the eight citizens expelled earlier had been 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.
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, since Nairobi sides diplomatically with China over Taiwan.
China and Taiwan split after the 1949 civil war, when Nationalists forces escaped to the island after the communists took power on the mainland. But Beijing still claims the self-ruled Taiwan is part of its own territory, and has threatened to use force if Taipei formally declares independence.
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
Asked about the deportations Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang thanked Nairobi of observing the government’s “one-China” policy.
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