Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kenyan Extraditions Raise Questions on Stability of China-Taiwan Relations

Yes, Taiwan must do more to combat Internet scammers. But by overreaching, Beijing has turned this into a political issue

Last week’s controversy over Kenya’s extradition of 45 Taiwanese nationals to China, likely at Beijing’s request, has pointed to souring relations across the Taiwan Strait just a month before the inauguration of a new president in Taipei. Although some have interpreted the incident as a warning directed at the incoming Tsai Ing-wen, whose party opposes unification with China, Beijing’s actions likely resulted from other, though no less troubling, dynamics.

The outrage in Taiwan, which sparked a rare moment of unity in the island nation’s deeply divided political scene, stemmed from Nairobi’s decision to deport the suspects to China rather than Taiwan, even after the Kenyan High Court had cleared them of involvement in telecommunications fraud and given them three weeks to leave the country. Protests by Taiwanese officials, who quickly described the extradition as an act of “illegal abduction,” were to no avail.

My article, published today in the International Peace Institute’s Global Observatory, continues here.

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