Spain issues arrest order for Jiang


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.

  • Padro

    A law which cannot work is a bad law

  • BenUriel

    This is really not a productive practice by the Spanish judiciary. It worked better with Pinochet because he had few friends. It will work less well with China. There is an international process by which those who committed very wrong acts while in office get tried. It is far from perfect but it is universally or at least very very widely accepted. The problem with Spanish judicial vigilantism is that while it is almost certainly done from the purist of motives, the Chinese, with popular support, may find something allegedly criminal about the Spanish or others and try them in absentia, waiting for the day when they happen to take the wrong flight to mete out punishment. Even assuming the Spanish and the Chinese would both not abuse such a system, it will not be long before ruthless people with influence with a government someplace do just that. I remember a time when kidnappers in Lebanon kidnapped high profile people as much or more for financial gain as for political reasons. There is a system in place. I think even the US may bend its head to that system. If we are going to be going after retired heads of state and in some cases strongmen or other kinds of leaders, we need to operate through such a system and if needs be improve it. It may be that Zhang Jemin may have done something that he needs to answer for. This just is not the way to deal with the question.