MADRID – Spain’s National Court on Tuesday issued arrest orders for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four other officials as part of a probe into alleged genocide by China against Tibet.
The court said it accepted arguments from Spanish pro-Tibet rights groups that international reports indicate the five may have had a role in the alleged genocide and should be questioned.
The five also include former Prime Minister Li Peng; former security and police chief Qiao Shi; Chen Kuiyan, a former Communist Party official in Tibet; and Pen Pelyun, ex-family planning minister. None has been formally charged.
China has previously described the investigation as interference in its affairs and called the claims “sheer fabrication.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday during a regular briefing that Beijing firmly opposes the court’s move and urged Spain to repair “the severe damage.” Hong said Madrid should respect China’s stance on Tibet and not harm China-Spain relations.
Spain’s legal system recognizes the universal justice principle, under which genocide suspects can be put on trial outside their home country. The policy allowed former Judge Baltasar Garzon to try to chase late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In practice, very few probes have seen people brought to trial in Spain. Meanwhile, the investigations have irked some countries, most notably China and Israel, and led to accusations that Spain was behaving like a global policeman.