Hundreds of Taiwanese people have been extradited from various countries to China instead of Taiwan, according to rights group Safeguard Defenders.

The extradited individuals faced
The extradited individuals faced "arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, and forced televised confessions" in China, Safeguard Defenders says. (AP)

Beijing has pressured foreign governments to deport hundreds of Taiwan nationals to China in what human rights activists describe as a "hunt for Taiwanese".

Over 600 Taiwanese people were extradited from various countries to China between 2016 and 2019 to "undermine Taiwanese sovereignty", rights group Safeguard Defenders said in a report on Tuesday.

Beijing has been pressuring governments to extradite hundreds of Taiwanese people, mostly accused of telecoms fraud to China, the group said.

The Taiwan government and the UN Human Rights Council have been trying to prevent the forced transfers.

Those extradited to China faced "arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, and forced televised confessions", Safeguard Defenders said.

The Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top China policy-making body, said Beijing aims to "show its sovereignty over Taiwan" by pushing for the deportations.

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'China does not have jurisdiction'

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory, to be retaken one day by force if necessary, and has stepped up efforts in recent years to diplomatically isolate it.

China and Taiwan agreed in 2009 that police from both sides would return overseas suspects to their respective territories.

But Beijing began to increasingly ignore this agreement after the election of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, according to the NGO's report.

As Tsai has tried to assert the island's distinct identity, China has more aggressively professed its claim over Taiwan.

In response to the report, Taiwan's government said on Wednesday that China "does not have jurisdiction" over Taiwanese citizens implicated in criminal cases abroad.

The government said these Taiwanese citizens should be returned to Taiwan to face trial.

"We again urge the Chinese side that crime-fighting should not involve politics and we hope law enforcement units on both sides can continue to cooperate on existing basis to effectively fight crimes and protest public welfare," it said in a statement.

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Source: AFP