FOX NEWS — China and Taiwan are locked in a spiraling controversy over conflicting concepts of “citizenship,” with enormous implications both for them and the United States. The timing of the dispute is especially significant, as Taiwan prepares for next month’s inauguration of Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (and Taiwan’s first female president). The DPP has long advocated explicitly declaring Taiwan independent from the mainland, rather than continuing its current ambiguous status,
Although extraditing alleged international phone scammers may not initially seem the stuff of high-stakes diplomatic statecraft, the stakes are high and figure in the much broader ongoing dispute across the Strait of Taiwan. Beijing struck first in Kenya, where Chinese and Taiwanese swindlers allegedly extorted money from mainland Chinese by masquerading as police calling about “illegal” conduct. Almost certainly because of Chinese threats to withhold substantial amounts of economic assistance, Kenya “deported” 45 Taiwanese citizens to China, even though they had been acquitted of phone fraud. Taiwan immediately complained that its citizens’ rights were violated by not being sent to their home country. Just days later, Malaysia returned 20 Taiwanese (apparently part of the same scam) to Taiwan, which promptly released them because of insufficient evidence, thereby eliciting Chinese complaints.
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