SHARE
COPY LINK

TIBET

China grills Spain over Tibet genocide probe

China is demanding a "clarification" from Madrid after a Spanish court issued an international arrest warrant for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin over alleged genocide in Tibet, Beijing said on Wednesday.

China grills Spain over Tibet genocide probe
Spain's National Court issued an arrest warrant for the former head of state and Communist Party chief on Tuesday in an investigation into genocide in Tibet. File photo: Monster Pete/AFP

Spain's National Court issued the warrant for the former head of state and Communist Party chief on Tuesday under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, which allows courts to try some human rights abuses committed in other countries.

Tibetan rights groups brought the case against Jiang, former prime minister Li Peng and three other Chinese officials, alleging they were responsible for "genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and terrorism" against Tibetans in the 1980s and 1990s.

Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that Chinese officials had seen reports on the arrest warrant and had asked Spanish authorities for a "clarification".

If the reports were correct, Hong said, China "expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to relevant agencies in Spain", which he said had neglected China's position.

Beijing hoped Spanish authorities "do not do things that harm the Chinese side and the relationship between China and Spain", he added.

Hong blamed "Tibet separatists" for using "rumours and "slander" to make "false accusations" against China.

"Such means are doomed to fail," Hong added. "China's position on Tibetan-related issues is clear-cut and consistent."

The Spanish court accepted the case because one of the plaintiffs, Tibetan exile Thubten Wangchen, has Spanish nationality, and the Chinese courts have not investigated the allegations.

It has also agreed to investigate a charge of repression in Tibet brought against China's former president Hu Jintao, who left office last year.

China considers Tibet an integral part of its territory, which it has ruled since 1951, a year after invading the Himalayan region.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CHINA

‘Spain has swapped human rights for money’

A Tibetan monk who pushed a human rights case against former Chinese leaders through Spanish courts accused China on Tuesday of pressuring Madrid to change the law that made the complaint possible.

'Spain has swapped human rights for money'
Thubten said Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party "was listening and supporting the Chinese government and this is why it is reforming the law". Photo: Pierre Phillipe Marcou/AFP

Thubten Wangchen, a member of the exiled Tibetan parliament, said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government had moved to limit the use of "universal jurisdiction", which allows judges to try certain cases of human rights abuses committed in other countries, only to appease China.

A Spanish judge on Monday sought international arrest warrants for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and four other top Chinese officials as part of a probe opened into alleged genocide in Tibet under this doctrine.

Thubten, a Spanish citizen who was born in Tibet in 1954 but exiled with his family when he was a child, brought the case in a Spanish court in 2006 along with two Tibetan support groups.

China, a significant economic partner of Spain, reacted angrily to the judge's move, saying it was "strongly dissatisfied".

Thubten said Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party "was listening and supporting the Chinese government and this is why it is reforming the law."

"There is no other reason. The Chinese government is putting a great deal of pressure on Rajoy's government and therefore poor Rajoy has to take note and obey China, there is no other choice," Thubten told AFP.

Under a bill introduced last month by the Popular Party, judges will be able to investigate crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide only if the suspect is a Spanish national, a foreigner living in Spain or a foreigner in Spain whose extradition has been denied.

Spanish lawmakers will vote late on Tuesday whether to put the draft bill to a debate and vote.

The Popular Party has a comfortable majority in the assembly and the bill is assured to pass.

"If Spanish government changes the law at the request of China then that means it is China which is in charge in Spain. If the law changes it would be shameful for the Chinese government," Thubten said after visiting the Spanish parliament during its preliminary debate on the draft law.

"The former president of China did criminal deeds and is responsible for genocide in Tibet and now he is facing the bill and he has to pay that bill. It is normal," he added.

China considers Tibet an integral part of its territory, which it has ruled since 1951, a year after invading the Himalayan region.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter.

SHOW COMMENTS