The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said that its efforts to secure the deportations of Taiwanese fraud suspects held overseas back to their homeland — as opposed to China — are not aimed at “protecting the bad guys,” but rather at defending the safety and human rights of the millions of Taiwanese who travel abroad each year.
“The ministry will not protect any bad guys, but in this case, the suspects were acquitted by a local court [in Kenya] and ordered deported back to Taiwan,” Department of West Asian and African Affairs Director-General Chen Chun-shen (陳俊賢) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Chen said that if the ministry did not endeavor to protect the five Taiwanese who were deported to China on Sunday after being acquitted by a Kenyan court, it would create a dangerous precedent that might encourage Beijing to abduct any Taiwanese suspected of wrongdoing anywhere in the world.
It could happen to anyone, including you and me, and lead to a severe infringement of Taiwanese people’s human rights, Chen said.
“Given that there are millions of Taiwanese who travel overseas each year ... the ministry has to safeguard their safety and human rights while they are abroad,” Chen said.
Chen made the remarks one day after the ministry criticized Kenya and China for disregarding a local court’s not-guilty verdict on Friday and deporting the five Taiwanese to Beijing instead of Taipei.
However, the ministry’s campaign to stop the deportation has been criticized by some Taiwanese commentators, who say that such efforts to protect “criminals” are a waste of energy, resources and manpower
Chen said that while the government lost its struggle with Beijing this time, the case has attracted international media coverage and is expected to draw attention to “the unfair treatment Taiwanese have been subjected to for a long time.”
“I believe the international community cannot understand or accept [Beijing’s action of] blatantly abducting people who have just been acquitted by a court,” Chen said, adding that the case proves that civilized actions are no match for peremptoriness.
Chen added that Beijing’s victory came at a dear cost, as its indifference to the rule of law and human rights had further tarnished its international image.
Asked whether the Kenyan authorities have offered an explanation for the unlawful deportation, Chen said he believed the Kenyan government must have been torn between succumbing to mounting pressure from China and bowing to international public opinion; otherwise, it would not have postponed issuing a verdict on the five Taiwanese five times since April.
“We might not be able to associate Taiwan’s mature rule-of-law culture with the Kenyan police force’s disregard of its own country’s legal system, but I believe Nairobi must have felt very conflicted because the pressure from China could be both political and economic,” Chen said.
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