Beijing frustrated as another Chinese journalist detained in Kenya
Police arrest newspaperman in immigration crackdown – even though they checked his work permit online
A Chinese journalist was briefly detained by Kenyan police on Friday, just days after a raid on another Chinese broadcaster, in an immigration crackdown that has frustrated Beijing embassy officials.
Police entered the Nairobi offices of China Daily newspaper and demanded to see staff documents before hauling deputy bureau chief Liu Hongjie to the police station. This was despite verifying his work permit online.
“His work permit is valid. They even checked it online at his office. But he was still taken away,” said embassy spokesman Zhang Ghang, adding the journalist was later released.
On Wednesday Kenyan police carried out a similar raid on the African headquarters of China Global Television Network (CGTN), briefly detaining eight journalists as well as five other nationals employed in the same building.
The Chinese embassy expressed concern at the increase in detentions of its nationals even though they hold legal documents.
Government spokesman Erick Kiraithe said the raid on CGTN was a “mistake”, without elaborating.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing in Beijing that Kenya had “admitted inadequacies in law enforcement and apologised”.
Kenya last month began hunting down and arresting people illegally in the country after holding a 60-day exercise in which every foreigner was required to revalidate their permits.
Last week the interior ministry released a hotline number for members of the public to report suspected illegal immigrants.
No other raids on workplaces have so far been reported but police have been stopping foreigners in malls, restaurants and other establishments and demanding they identify themselves.
On Thursday a Chinese businessman was arrested and deported after a video of him making a string of racist remarks was widely shared on social media.
Zhang said the video dated from June and that the person in question had already been punished by his company.
China and Kenya maintain strong relations, with Beijing funding numerous infrastructure projects in the country.
China financed 90 per cent of a US$3.2 billion railway linking Nairobi to the coastal city of Mombasa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta attended a two-day China-Africa forum in Beijing this week to discuss the financing of the railway’s second phase linking the Rift Valley town of Naivasha to Kisumu near the Ugandan border, at a cost of a further $3.5 billion.