Kenya Caught Up In China-Taiwan Decade-Long Diplomatic Row

Kenya Caught Up In China-Taiwan Decade-Long Diplomatic Row

Kenya has been caught in a decades-long diplomatic spat between China and Taipei after the East African nation deported Taiwan citizens to the Chinese capital, Beijing.

According to NDTV, 45 Taiwanese were arrested alongside 32 Chinese nationals between November 2015 and April this year, in the country’s capital, Nairobi for running online fraud schemes and illegal call centers.

Chen Chun-shen, chief of West Asian and African affairs at Taiwan’s foreign ministry told AFP Kenyan authorities had denied Taiwan representatives from seeing the detainees before they were placed on the China-bound plane.

“Our colleague went immediately to the prison to see the detainees but faced all kinds of impediment,” Chen told journalists in Taipei.

According to Quartz, the Taiwanese were acquitted by a Kenyan court on April 5, 2016.  Eight of them were then placed on a China Southern Airlines, headed for Guangzhou, mainland China, instead of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, on April 8.

The Taiwan citizens are said to be held in a detention camp, but authorities in Beijing refused to confirm their arrival.

Chinese police said that they have to detain the Taiwanese to help in investigations for what they believe is a wire fraud.

The Asian economic power has accused Taiwan of doing little to control the gangs that have defrauded Chinese citizens and companies of hundreds of dollars.

“They have caused a tremendous loss to citizens of the mainland. The rights and interests of the victims could not be guaranteed, An Fengshan, Chinese spokesman for Taiwan Affairs office told NDTV.

This has left the island in a tough spot as it has no diplomatic ties with the East African nation. Kenya only recognizes the government in Beijing.

Taiwan also accuses Kenya of mishandling her citizens in the deportation process. The island claims that authorities used teargas to force some of the Taiwanese to board the flight to Beijing, claims that the East African nation has denied.

Taiwan authorities have accused China of abducting them and violating an implicit agreement of non-interfering in the island’s foreign affairs.

This incident is set to escalate tensions between China and Taiwan, ahead of the inauguration of her first female president, on May 20, this year.

The island’s president-elect, Tsai Ing-wen refused to agree to China’s conditions that Taiwan and mainland China are part of a single China.

According to BBC, China threatened to take back the island that it considers part of its overseas province.

It considers Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, even though Taiwan has ruled itself since 1949.