Photo: Jiang Zemin
China reacted with anger Wednesday to the news that Spain’s National Court issued international arrest warrants for retired Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other former officials in connection with alleged genocide in Tibet.
The government in Beijing “expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to relevant agencies in Spain,” spokesman Hong Lei said during the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular daily press briefing.
“We urge Spain to face up to China’s solemn position, change the wrong decision, repair the severe damage, and refrain from sending wrong signals to the Tibetan independence forces and hurting China-Spain relations,” Hong said.
Besides Jiang, who retired from the presidency a decade ago, the Spanish court wants to question Li Peng, China’s prime minister in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, as well as several other senior officials.
The case was brought by two pro-Tibet groups 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 alleged victims had Spanish citizenship.
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.
“Tibet separatists” are behind the “false accusations” against China, the foreign ministry’s Hong said Wednesday.
“Such means are doomed to fail,” he said. “China’s position on Tibetan-related issues is clear-cut and consistent.”