Taipei, Sept. 7 (CNA) Taiwan on Wednesday lodged a strong protest against Armenia's forced deportation of 78 Taiwanese citizens suspected of telecom fraud to China, demanding an explanation from the Armenian authorities.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday that after it was informed on Aug. 26 that Armenian police had taken away the passports, computers and phones of 34 Taiwanese fraud suspects and put them under observation, it had ordered Taiwan's representative office in Russia to look into the case and keep a close watch on related developments.
However, Armenia refused to give the staff of the representative office visas and did not notify Taiwan about its handling of the suspects. This prevented Taiwan's authorities from tracing the whereabouts of the Taiwanese suspects and protecting their judicial rights, according to the ministry.
The Armenian government's move has infringed on the Taiwanese suspects' human rights and violated international laws and practices, the ministry said, adding that it will file a complaint to international human rights organizations over the matter.
In addition, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said after it received news of the mass deportation from Armenia to China Wednesday, it immediately issued a strong protest and passed on its concern to China.
The MAC said it will continue to communicate with China to seek its agreement to send the suspects back to Taiwan for investigation.
The government has repeatedly informed China that Taiwanese citizens should not be sent there, but should be deported to Taiwan to face trial. However, Beijing has once again chosen to neglect Taiwan's call, the MAC said, noting that this could undermine the foundation of mutual trust between Taiwan and China to jointly combat cross-border telecom fraud activities.
The MAC said that it has asked Beijing to protect the rights of the Taiwanese suspects deported to China and the visitation rights of their relatives, according to the cross-strait mutual judicial assistance agreement.
This is the latest incident in which Chinese authorities have managed to get Taiwanese fraud suspects deported to Beijing.
Taipei has also protested against deportations of its citizens from Malaysia and Cambodia to China earlier this year.