A number of journalists and staff of China’s state-run international China Global Television Network (CGTN) based in Nairobi, Kenya were arrested and briefly detained by immigration officers following a raid of their headquarters on Wednesday.
The raid, conducted while Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was attending a China-Africa forum in Beijing, was reportedly part of Kenya’s crackdown against illegal immigration.
In the videos circulating on social media, armed police officers were seen asking the employees to produce their identity cards and work permits.
Drama at CGTN over crackdown on illegal immigrants. pic.twitter.com/1BoSGDudlw
— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) September 5, 2018
The 13 workers who were not carrying their cards and permits were rounded up and brought to a police station but were released later in the day.
Plain clothes officers on Wednesday stormed CGTN Africa HQ in Nairobi in an operation believed to be targeting illegal immigrants. pic.twitter.com/y8p57z5FHW
— The Star, Kenya (@TheStarKenya) September 5, 2018
Kenyan police released the employees later in the day and issued an apology the following day, Reuters reports.
“The raid on the Chinese state-owned broadcaster was based on false information,” Kenya national police spokesman Charles Owino was quoted as saying. “We sincerely apologize for the mishap… Those detained were released later.”
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, the Chinese embassy complained to the Kenyan government and demanded that all the personnel be released on the same day.
“The Kenyan side has already apologized to the Chinese side about the improper law enforcement, and promised they will constrain the actions of police at the grassroots … and prevent such incidents from happening again,” Hua said during a news briefing in Beijing.
“According to what we understand, this action by the Kenyan policy is part of a move to crack down on illegal immigration, and is neither aimed at nor limited to Chinese citizens.”