BANGKOK (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency criticized Thailand on Tuesday for deporting two refugees who were about to be resettled in a third country. Rights groups identified the two as Chinese pro-democracy activists.

The Bangkok office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees did not give the names or nationalities of the two, or the country that granted them asylum. It said it was deeply concerned about the Thai government's action, which was taken despite numerous appeals from its office and others.

The U.S. branch of Amnesty International issued a statement Monday identifying them as Jiang Yefei and Dong Guangping, and said they were most likely sent to China on Friday. U.S. government-supported Radio Free Asia gave the same identification.

Thai and Chinese officials were not immediately available for comment.

Radio Free Asia said Jiang is a political cartoonist who was detained and tortured after criticizing China's ruling Communist Party for mishandling relief and recovery efforts after a massive Sichuan earthquake in 2008. It said he has been living in Thailand since fleeing his country, and was granted refugee status by UNHCR in April.

It said Dong was imprisoned for subversion in 2001-2004 and was secretly detained for eight months in 2014 before fleeing China with his family two months ago.

Thailand was criticized earlier this year for forcibly repatriating more than 100 members of the Uighur minority who had fled China, where they say they face repression. China said some were terrorists and all had left the country illegally. An August bomb blast in central Bangkok that killed 20 people was blamed by Thai police on a criminal gang that allegedly smuggled Uighurs out of China, but the authorities deny it was revenge for the mass deportation. Suspects in the case have not yet come to trial.

Thailand's military junta, criticized by the United States for toppling an elected government last year, has sought warmer economic and political relations with China.

Thailand has not signed the international agreement pledging to honor U.N. refugee status — which would prevent their involuntary repatriation to their homeland while under threat — although it generally has informally allowed such people to stay here, sometimes in detention centers.

The latest deportations came shortly after the disappearance of Gui Minghai, a Hong Kong-based book publisher, from his vacation home in Thailand. Three other members of his company, Sage Communications, are reported to have disappeared while visiting mainland China, and all four are believed to be in the custody of the Chinese authorities. The company, taking advantage of Hong Kong's status as a special region with more freedoms than the rest of China, had published books critical of the Communist Party and sold them and others at a bookstore it runs.