China says repatriated dissidents 'guilty of crimes'

Jiang Yefei Image copyright Jiang Yefei family
Image caption Jiang Yefei, pictured, and Dong Guangping had criticised China's government

China has defended its repatriation of two Chinese activists from Thailand who had been granted UN refugee status.

The foreign ministry said the men were guilty of crimes but did not say which laws they were accused of breaking.

Jiang Yefei and Dong Guangping, who fled China after being jailed for criticising the government, were sent back more than a week ago.

A third man - Swedish national Gui Minhai - was also sent to China on the same plane.

The United Nations has strongly criticised Bangkok's decision to repatriate those who have already been granted refugee status, warning that the men were at risk of "grave human rights violations".

Political cartoonist Jiang Yefei was a vocal critic of the Chinese government and had been tortured by Chinese authorities in the past, the BBC's Celia Hatton in Beijing reports.

He had been living in Thailand as a refugee for seven years, awaiting resettlement by the UN.

According to Amnesty International, both Mr Jiang and at least one other refugee from China, human rights activist Dong Guangping, were arrested by the Thai authorities at Beijing's request before they were deported to China.

The third man, Gui Minhai, was a well-known publisher of books that questioned China's Communist one-party rule.

He had been missing since mid-October.

Thailand is currently governed by the military, which took power in a coup last year.

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