BEIJING – Three Tibet support groups jointly filed a criminal lawsuit in Spain's High Court, accusing Jiang Zemin and Li Peng, who retired as China's president and parliament chief respectively in 2003, of commiting genocide and crimes against humanity in Tibet.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang denied the charges, and adding a warning to Spanish authorities that appears to be an attempt to influence the judicial system.
“Current Sino-Spanish relations are developing very smoothly. We do not wish to see any unhappy incident harm the smooth development of Sino-Spanish relations,” Qin said.
Massacres and Torture
The case accuses the retired leaders, who were in office during the 1980s and 1990s, of authorising massacres and torture in Tibet. The court could call for the Chinese government to arrest those accused and even impound their property.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army marched into Tibet in 1950 and the Himalayan region's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India nine years later after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama is seeking greater autonomy from China, which calls the 1950 takeover a liberation for the region's serfs. The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Spain's top court has ruled that Spanish courts can try genocide cases even if they did not involve Spaniards, prompting Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned by Beijing in 1999, to file a genocide suit against Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai late last year.