Tue, 21 Mar 2023

Beijing [China], December 1 (ANI): Beijing has been pressuring foreign governments to extradite Taiwan nationals to China as part of an effort to undermine the self-ruled island, according to a human rights group.

Safeguard Defenders, China-focused human rights group's said that the pressure has increased since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president five years ago, Al Jazeera reported.

The group's investigation showed that at least 610 Taiwanese were extradited or deported by foreign governments to China instead of Taiwan between 2016 and 2019 -- mostly from countries in Asia but also from Spain, Armenia and Kenya. Most had been accused of telecom fraud.

Safeguard Defenders said Beijing had been increasingly ignoring that deal, especially since the election of Tsai, who the group claims wants independence for the self-ruled island.

"This international persecution of Taiwan nationals amounts to an assault on Taiwanese sovereignty, and is part of the larger global campaign under Xi Jinping to exploit extradition treaties, mutual law enforcement agreements, and other multilateral institutions for the Chinese Communist Party's political objectives," Safeguard Defenders said in the report published on Wednesday.

The report said the transfers often took place after the Taiwanese were denied access to consular support or communication from Taipei, and were sometimes followed by ongoing denial of contact with Taiwanese officials or family members once they were in China.

Taiwan is a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.

China has also threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war. On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island. (ANI)

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