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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Spanish judge to quiz China officials over Tibet

May 7, 2009

May 5, 2009

MADRID (AFP) - A Spanish judge said on Tuesday he intended to question
eight Chinese leaders as official suspects in a case of genocide in
connection with a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet in March 2008.

National Court judge Santiago Pedraz sent a letter to Chinese
authorities formally requesting permission to travel to China to
question the eight, including Defence Minister Liang Guanglie and
Minister for State Security Geng Huichang.

"Given the cordial relations between our two respective countries, I
hope that you will respond favourably to my request," he wrote referring
to a bilateral justice cooperation agreement signed in 2005, according
to a court document obtained by AFP.

The suit was filed against the Chinese leaders in July 2008 by a Tibetan
rights groups, the Tibet Support Committee, and accepted by the court
the following month just days before the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

It "denounces the new wave of oppression that began in Tibet on 10th
March 2008, and just goes to prove that acts of genocide continue to be
committed against the Tibetan people".

It also "denounces China's manipulation of the global war against
terrorism in its attempt to justify and cover up crimes against humanity
committed against the Tibetan people".

Unrest in Tibet erupted on March 14 last year after four days of
peaceful protests against Chinese rule.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and about
1,000 hurt in China's crackdown. Beijing insists that only one Tibetan
was killed and has in turn accused the "rioters" of killing 21 people.

The crackdown sparked international protests that dogged the month-long
global journey of the Olympic torch in April.

The judge said that if the accusations made in the complaint are proven,
they would constitute crimes against humanity under Spanish law.

"The Tibetan population would appear to be a group that is persecuted by
the cited authorities for political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural,
religious or other motives universally recognised as unacceptable under
international law," he wrote.

Spain has since 2005 operated under the principle of "universal
jurisdiction", a doctrine that allows courts to reach beyond national
borders in cases of torture, terrorism or war crimes.

Other Chinese officials named in the suit were Communist Party Secretary
in Tibet Zhang Qingli, Politburo member Wang Lequan, Ethnic Affairs
Commission head Li Dezhu, People's Liberation Army Commander in Lhasa
General Tong Guishan, Public Security Minister Meg Jianzhu and Zhang
Guihua, political commissar in the Chengdu military command.

The suit against the eight is an extension to another complaint filed by
the Tibet Support Committee in 2006.

That suit accuses Chinese leaders, including former president Jiang
Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng, of torture and crimes against
humanity as well as genocide allegedly carried out in Tibet during the

The National Court has been hearing that case since June 2006.

Beijing has condemned the accusations of genocide in Tibet as slander
and it has accused Madrid of trying to interfere in its administration
of the Buddhist Himalayan region.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to
"liberate" the remote region.
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