China will officially protest to Kenya following the arrest of 13 China Global Television Network (CGTN) staffers who were held in Nairobi on Wednesday in a crackdown on aliens working in the country without permits.
Zhang Gang, a spokesman of the Nairobi embassy, said it was illegal to arrest staff of the TV station who have been working in Kenya legally.
“The Chinese embassy respects the legal acts of Kenyan police.
“However, the embassy deems that the Chinese nationals who hold legal residence and working permits should not be detained,” said Mr Gang.
“The Chinese embassy is expressing concern to the Kenyan side through diplomatic channels," he said.
Police raided CGTN offices in Nairobi in search of immigrants working in the country illegally.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said that officers raided the station after getting information that some staff members did not have valid work permits.
‘The 13 Chinese nationals picked up from CGTN were freed after ascertaining their immigration status was okay,” said Mr Boinnet.
The government in May declared war on foreigners working in the country illegally and ordered a 60-day operation to weed them out.
During the crackdown, the Immigration Department created a digital register of legal foreign workers to provide them with electronic identification cards.
To date, about 1,000 foreigners have been kicked out of the country in one of the boldest crackdowns aimed at streamlining the corruption-prone process of issuing work permits.