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CHINA

China slams Spain over Tibet torture case

China on Friday criticized a lawsuit in Spain against former Chinese president Hu Jintao over allegations of human rights abuses in Tibet.

China slams Spain over Tibet torture case
A Spanish court will hear a lawsuit against against former Chinese president Hu Jintao over claims he carried out genocide in Tibet in the 1980s and 1990s. Photo: Ed Jones/Pool/AFP

"Tibet is an inseparable part of China," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing, adding the region's affairs are a Chinese "domestic" matter.

"We are firmly opposed to any country or any individuals' interference in China's domestic affairs under the pretext of the Tibet-related issue," she said.

Hua's comments came after a Spanish court agreed to hear a lawsuit against Hu as part of an investigation into whether he carried out genocide in Tibet in the 1980s and 1990s.

The court decided to hear the complaint after accepting an appeal against a decision by Judge Ismael Moreno, who in June had rejected it, according to a judicial decree published on Thursday.

Since 2006, Moreno has been hearing a lawsuit for alleged genocide against various former Chinese leaders over repression carried out in Tibet in the 1980s and 1990s.

The lawsuit, which was filed by the Tibet Support Committee, targeted seven past Chinese leaders, among them former president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng.

It asked for Hu to be charged once his immunity as head of state expired. He stepped down in March this year.

The court on Thursday accepted the allegations of the plaintiffs against Moreno's decision to say that Hu "had sufficient organic competency and capacity to lead a series of actions and campaigns tending to harass the Tibetan population".

Considering that "during the diverse campaigns of repression in Tibet between 1988-1992, he held the post of Chinese communist party secretary in the region of Tibet", it said.

Hua emphasized that China and Spain have "friendly relations" to which both sides "attach great importance".

She said that the organization behind the lawsuit is "attempting to attack the Chinese government and sabotage friendly relations between China and the relevant country", referring to Spain.

She said China hopes that the Spanish government will "not provide any platform or opportunity" to those behind the court case for what she termed "anti-China separatist activities".

"We also hope that they (the Spanish government) will take measures to ensure the sound and steady growth of our bilateral relations."

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FOOTBALL

Wu Lei’s move to Spain’s ‘Liga’ is ‘massive’, says ‘China’s Beckham’

Wu Lei's transfer to La Liga is "massive" for Chinese football, says a former international who made a similar journey 19 years ago and helped convince the forward to take the plunge in Europe.

Wu Lei's move to Spain's 'Liga' is 'massive', says 'China's Beckham'
Espanyol's unveiled its new Chinese forward Wu Lei on January 29, 2019. Photo: AFP

Xie Hui knows what it is like to venture out of the relative obscurity of Chinese football and make a success of it, having scored goals in Germany's second division.

Now 44 and retired from playing, Xie also knows Wu better than most after working with him for the last few years at Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG.


Xie Hui looking on during an AFC Champions League group stage football match last week. 

Wu left SIPG, where Xie is an assistant coach, for Espanyol in January for a reported €2 million ($2.25 million) and made history this month when he became the first Chinese to score in Spain's top league.

Few Chinese have played among Europe's elite, but Xie told AFP that 27-year-old Wu can make as much of an impact — if not more — as Sun Jihai, who was at Premier League Manchester City from 2002-2008.

“I have no doubt that he has the capability to play in a top league, in a decent team,” Xie said of last season's CSL top-scorer.   

“He always had this dream so he would talk to me and say, 'Oh, but what about the language?' But football is a common language.   

“I told him not to worry, the most important is on the pitch and the training ground. They will respect you if you show it on the pitch, it's as simple as that.”

Xie, who once earned comparisons to David Beckham, because he was married to an actress/model, sent Wu a message of congratulations after his landmark goal in Chinese-owned Espanyol's 3-1 win over Real Valladolid.   

Wu's progress is being closely monitored in China and millions back home will watch the broadcast of Espanyol's city derby with Lionel Messi's Barcelona on March 30.

“It's massive, massive, and something we missed for almost the last 15 years,” Xie said of what Wu's move meant for the development of Chinese football.

Need for speed

Like Wu, Xie was a forward, and after starting his career at Shanghai Shenhua, he moved to Alemannia Aachen in Germany's second tier in 2000.   

Xie hit 20 goals in 52 games and attracted the attention of teams in Germany's top flight, before returning to Shenhua in 2002.   

He had two further stints in Germany, before retiring in 2008.   

Xie, who scored nine goals in 22 appearances for China, warned that Wu will need to be patient and “speed up his mindset” in Spain.   

“Pace and physically, he has no problem,” Xie said.   

“But the CSL is much slower, he had much more time, two seconds in front of the goal. But maybe in Spain, you have just one second.”   

Xie, who has worked under the “unique personalities” of Sven-Goran Eriksson, Andre Villas-Boas and now Vitor Pereira at SIPG, is confident Wu will succeed in La Liga.

But he is less optimistic about the immediate future of Chinese football.   

“I do not see that many (like Wu Lei), I would say another one or two, and that's it of that generation,” he warned.   

That dearth of quality hurts the national side, who have qualified for the World Cup only once, in 2002.

So what hopes of reaching Qatar 2022?   

“That will be a miracle, I would not bet over 50 percent,” said Xie.

“From my understanding it will come, but later, at least 10 years from now.

By AFP's Peter Stebbings 

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