Taiwan is accusing China of wrongly taking eight Taiwanese citizens who were deported from Kenya.
Reports say a Kenyan court found 37 suspects, including 23 Taiwanese, not guilty of cybercrime charges last week.
The defendants were given 21 days to leave the country.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry says China pressured Kenyan police to put eight of the Taiwanese on a Chinese airplane traveling to China on Friday.
Kenyan officials said they were pressured by mainland China.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry demanded an “immediate” return of the eight people. It called their deportation “a serious violation of basic human rights.”
Taiwan had sent officials to Kenya to deal with the case. The self-ruling island’s foreign ministry has no office in Kenya.
The foreign ministry said a court order should have kept the eight Taiwanese nationals in Kenya. However, the foreign ministry said Chinese officials obstructed its efforts.
It said Chinese officials delayed the court order and prevented Taiwan's representative from reaching the acquitted people.
The ministry said by the time Taiwanese officials arrived at the airport, the eight Taiwanese citizens had been “taken to a passenger plane of China Southern Airlines and sent to the mainland.”
The deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Shih Hi-fen said: “This has not only harmed the fundamental human rights (of the eight), but has hurt Taiwan people’s feelings and severe negative impacts on ties between the two sides.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was asked about the incident during a news briefing Monday. He said he “needed to further understand the situation.”
China considers Taiwan its own province. Nationalist Party forces fled to the island in 1949 after China’s civil war with the Communist Party, which controls the mainland.
I’m Anne Ball.
Aline Barros reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
obstruct –v. to interfere with, to get in the way
acquit –v. to clear of charges
fundamental –adj. forming the base o