About 610 Taiwanese nationals accused of crimes in other countries were extradited to China from 2016 to 2019, international non-governmental organization (NGO) Safeguard Defenders said yesterday, calling on the international community to intervene in the practice.
Based in Madrid, the organization is a human rights NGO founded in late 2016, its Web site says.
It released an eight-page report titled China’s Hunt for Taiwanese Overseas, which compiled data from news reports, government news releases and other sources available to the public.
Screengrab from Safeguard Defenders report.
“Through transnational repression and formal extraditions, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] is pursuing economic fugitives, Uyghur refugees, human rights defenders and fleeing Hong Kongers. But one group that has received far less attention to date: hundreds of Taiwanese nationals have been detained and forcibly extradited to mainland China from around the world,” the group said in a news release yesterday.
From 2016 to 2019, 610 Taiwanese nationals were extradited to China from around the world, including 219 from Spain, 117 from Cambodia and 79 from the Philippines, the report said.
The exact number might be larger, as the group had some difficulty obtaining data from Taiwanese authorities, Safeguard Defenders coordinator and researcher Chen Yen-ting (陳彥廷) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
Most of the extraditions of Taiwanese have taken place over the past five years, the report said.
“In many ways, the case in Kenya is emblematic of this change,” it said.
In 2014, China began pressuring Kenya over a group of more than 70 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals wanted for suspected telecommunications fraud, and in 2016 Kenya agreed to transfer some of them to China, it said.
“At least two of the Taiwanese nationals were later shown delivering televised forced confessions in China,” it said.
Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits in 2009 signed a Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement in which they agreed to cooperate on crime fighting, investigation and collection of evidence, apprehension and repatriation of convicted people, among other areas.
Beijing’s refusal to fulfill its obligations is arguably a response to what it sees as the more pro-independence mentality of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, which came to power in May 2016, the report said.
“The extradition of Taiwanese nationals to China should be seen explicitly as a violation of their rights to a fair trial and to be free from torture,” the report said.
“The international community should take immediate steps to intervene in this practice,” it said. “This opposition doesn’t even have to wade into the politically charged ‘One China’ narratives.”
The global community should also allow Taiwanese representatives to participate in international forums, it said, adding that it is time for Taiwan to join the Interpol.
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