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Thailand extradites Chinese refugees

BEIJING (AsiaNews): The two Chinese dissidents, Jiang Yefei and Dong Guanping,  who were arrested in Thailand on suspicion of migrating without documentation, have been repatriated to China and immediately jailed.

The two are members of a Chinese democracy movement and had received refugee status from the United Nations, but the government in Bangkok ignored this and extradited them back to their homeland.

The Procuratorial Daily reported, “According to the mechanisms of cooperation between the police of China and Thailand, Thailand has followed the law and handed the two men over to China on November 13.”

Both men had been targeted by the Chinese police for years. Dong Guangping, who left China with his family in September, spent three years in jail from 2001 to 2004 on subversion charges prior to disappearing. He was held in a secret detention centre for eight months in 2014.

Jiang Yefei, a political satirist, had been in Thailand since 2008. In China, he had been arrested and tortured for criticising the Communist Party over the management of the recovery process in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake. 

He received refugee status in April from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Three weeks ago, human rights advocates protested against the imprisonment of the two Chinese citizens by the Thai police. 

However, the authorities claim that the two pleaded guilty to charges, but many are convinced that they were coerced, as they did not receive any independent legal advice.

This is not the first incident of its kind. Chinese dissidents often seek refuge in Thailand, but if picked up, they are sent back. In the recent past, some members of the Falun Gong movement, which is outlawed in China and persecuted by the government in Beijing, have been forced to sign an indictment submitted by the Thai police.

Dong and Jiang were transferred to an area north of the Union of Myanmar, on the border with China, and repatriated from there. Their fate is unknown.

Last July, Thailand forcibly returned around 100 Uyghur people to China.

Bangkok has never signed the UN convention on refugees and does not recognise the concept of political asylum. 

The only option for Chinese with recognised status as refugees is to move to one of the 50 countries in the world that guarantees acceptance.


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