Photo: Jiang Zemin
A Spanish judge’s decision to issue arrest warrants for China’s former president and other senior officials in a case over alleged genocide in Tibet could harm relations between the two countries, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
“China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed to the erroneous acts taken by the Spanish agencies in disregard of China’s position,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
“Whether or not this issue can be appropriately dealt with is related to the healthy development of ties,” she told reporters during the ministry’s regular daily briefing.
She commented a day after Spanish National Court Judge Ismael Moreno issued warrants for the arrest of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who retired a decade ago, and four other erstwhile top officials.
The case was brought by pro-Tibetan activists in Spain.
The National Court agreed to hear the case based on the principle of universal jurisdiction and on the fact that one of the plaintiffs - a Tibetan monk - has Spanish citizenship.
Spain’s Parliament was set on Tuesday to debate a bill presented by the governing conservative Popular Party to restrict the conditions under which Spanish courts may investigate alleged crimes committed outside the national territory.
If approved, the measure would paralyze the case against the former Chinese officials.
China respects the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and, therefore, it is not commenting on what may occur in the Spanish Parliament, the foreign ministry’s Hua said Tuesday.
She also expressed Beijing’s hope that Spain will look beyond the “manipulation of reality” committed by Tibetan pro-independence groups.
The spokesperson said that Beijing and Madrid are in close contact, “as is customary.”
China insists Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries, though Tibetans say the “Roof of the World” was effectively independent until being occupied by the Red Army in the early 1950s.
Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising in the late ‘50s.