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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China urges Spain to stop inquiry into Tibet crackdown

July 7, 2009

Agence France-Presse - July 6, 2009

MADRID - China has asked Madrid to take steps to ensure that a Spanish court
drops its probe into a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet against
Chinese rule in March 2008, a court document showed Monday.

In a document sent by Chinese authorities to the National Court which was
released Monday, Beijing officials turned down a request by a judge to
question eight Chinese leaders, including Defence Minister Liang Guanglie,
as part of the probe.

In the document, the Chinese authorities called on the Spanish government to
take "immediate and effective steps to prevent any abusive use of a mutual
justice co-operation agreement and close as soon as possible this inquiry".

A Tibetan rights group, the Tibet Support Committee, filed the suit against
the Chinese leaders in July 2008, calling the crackdown on the unrest
"crimes against humanity".

It was accepted by the National Court the following month, just days before
the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

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.

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.

Last week the National Court closed a probe targeting Israeli officials for
alleged crimes against humanity over a deadly 2002 air raid in Gaza that was
accepted under this principle.

In that case the court said it was following the recommendations of
prosecutors in deciding to close the case.
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