label r shifted
Session C2
China-Taiwan Repatriation of Criminal Suspects: Room for Human Rights?
陳玉潔 Yu-Jie Chen
Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Jerome Cohen
School of Law, New York University, USA

When former President Ma Ying-jeou of the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC or Taiwan) was in power, Taiwan and China—stimulated by their warming relations, concluded twenty-three agreements that bridged cooperation in various fields across the Taiwan Strait. Among them, the Cross-Strait Agreement on Joint Crime-Fighting and Mutual Judicial Assistance (Judicial Assistance Agreement or JAA) stands out as a significant pact that goes beyond economic and trade relations to enable the two sides to cooperate on criminal justice matters that have great implications for their respective human rights practices.

Implementation of the Judicial Assistance Agreement, however, has revealed a lack of adequate legal institutions and procedures to protect human rights effectively. This paper focuses on one important aspect of the JAA—cross-strait criminal repatriation, which is rife with challenges. At stake are the basic rights of the returnee widely-recognized under international human rights law, including the rights to non-refoulement, protections against arbitrary arrest, detention and expulsion, and the right to an effective remedy. This field, despite its obvious importance, has been understudied in the growing literature on China-Taiwan relations. The paper contributes to the literature by examining existing procedures in China and Taiwan for repatriating alleged criminals of the other side and by critiquing those procedures that do not meet international human rights standards.

More broadly, the paper underscores the importance of human rights in cross-strait cooperation. As Taiwan’s current President Tsai Ing-wen is confronted by a Beijing that refuses to cooperate as well as domestic expectations that she should better safeguard values cherished by Taiwan’s democratic society, it is imperative for her government to address this human rights deficit in cross-strait relations.