Taiwan seeking to prevent suspects being deported to China

Taiwan's government said Friday it was seeking to prevent 52 Taiwanese criminal suspects being deported by Malaysia from being sent to China amid an ongoing struggle over jurisdiction in such cases.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency quoted Foreign Minister David Y.L. Lin as saying that Taiwan's office in Kuala Lumpur was lobbying Malaysian authorities to send the group to Taiwan in accordance with precedent.

The incident comes amid Taiwanese protests over the recent deportation of 45 Taiwanese by Kenya to China.

China claimed jurisdiction in that case because the Taiwanese are suspected of committing wire fraud against victims in mainland China. Taiwan said Kenya violated their citizens' legal rights and accused Beijing of violating a tacit agreement not to interfere in each side's citizens legal affairs abroad.

Taiwanese are concerned about China's attempts to assert its claims to sovereignty over their island by convincing countries over which it has influence to hand over Taiwanese suspects to mainland authorities. The sides split amid civil war and China has long sought to isolate Taiwan diplomatically by preventing it from maintaining formal ties with most countries, including Malaysia and Kenya.

China says it is investigating the 45 Taiwanese deported to China for possible involvement in wire fraud. Taiwan says it will send a delegation to Beijing to negotiate over the matter.