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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 threatens Spain over Tibet Lawsuits: Rights group

August 24, 2009

Central Tibetan Administration
August 21, 2009

Dharamshala -- The Chinese government has firmly
refused a judicial request from a Spanish court
to try Chinese authorities responsible for their
heavy-handed approach to the peaceful protests in
Tibet last year, a US-based human rights group said.

The security clampdown by Chinese security forces
and police across Tibet left more than 220
Tibetans dead and over 1,294 were seriously
injured. Over 5,600 were arrested, 290 sentenced
and more than 1,000 have simply disappeared, as
per information received by the Central Tibetan Administration.

In August 2008, the Tibet Support Committee of
Spain (Comite de Apoyo al Tibet) and Fundacion
Casa Del Tibet, Barcelona filed lawsuits against
eight Chinese leaders, including Zhang Qingli,
Tibet Autonomous Region Party, for the violent
crackdown in Tibet. The complaints were  accepted
by the Spanish High Court under the principle of
"universal jurisdiction," a doctrine that allows
courts to reach beyond national borders in cases
of torture, terrorism, genocide and crimes
against humanity, the International Campaign of Tibet (ICT) reported.

In his 5 May rulings, Spanish Judge Santiago
Pedraz, who is handling the case, had sought
authorisation from China's ministry of justice to
question the defendants in China should they
refuse to do so before the Spanish court.

The judge said that if the accusations made in
the complaint were proven, then they would
constitute crimes against humanity under Spanish
and international 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," an AFP news report of 5
May 2009 quoted Mr Pedraz as saying.

The Chinese embassy in Madrid had shot off a
letter to the Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Cooperation in Madrid on 16 June, terming the
judicial procedure as a “false lawsuit”.

"The acceptance of said false lawsuit by Spain's
Audiencia Nacional [High Court] has violated the
basic principles of state jurisdiction and
immunity established by international law and is
not covered by the Treaty on Judicial Assistance
on Criminal Matters between China and Spain. The
Chinese party firmly refuses any request for
judicial assistance regarding this case, while
demanding that Spain assumes her responsibilities
regarding international law, adopts immediate and
effective measures to prevent any violation of
the Treaty on Judicial Assistance in Criminal
Matters between China and Spain and puts a stop
to said case as soon as possible," the letter noted.

The ICT quoted unnamed sources as saying that a
representative of the Chinese Embassy in Madrid
told Spanish officials that Judge Santiago Pedraz
would be arrested if he attempted to visit China.

The Tibet lawsuits are threatened by a resolution
passed by Spain's Congress on 19 May to limit the
jurisdiction of judges to cases in which there is a clear Spanish connection.

Despite the ruling and continuing pressure from
China, Judge Pedraz has recently announced the
extension of one of the Tibet lawsuits to include
an investigation into the Nangpa pass shooting of
September 2006, when 17-year old nun Kelsang
Namtso was shot dead by Chinese border forces
while attempting to cross Tibet's border into
exile. Judge Pedraz again asked the Indian
government for permission to travel to India in
order to interview the Tibetan witnesses of the
Nangpa shooting. American climber, Luiz Benitez,
who witnessed Kelsang Namtso being fatally shot
in the back as she and other nuns, monks and
children attempted to flee across the Nangpa
Pass, gave evidence on 17 July to Judge Pedraz at Spain's High Court.

According to Spanish lawyers involved in the
lawsuit, the new ruling by the Spanish Congress
on universal jurisdiction cases may be formalized
within the next few weeks. The impact on the
Tibet lawsuits depends on whether the law will be
applied retroactively to cases introduced before
this period, which includes universal
jurisdiction cases relating to terrorists and
drug dealers as well as crimes against humanity.


Related ------------------------------
FACT SHEET: Tibetan Deaths Under China's Crackdown since March 2008
March 20, 2009

1.  As of 20 March 2009, a total of 220 Tibetans
have died under China's brutal crackdown since 10 March 2008.
2. Four categories of death under China's
crackdown -- Indiscriminate firing, Torture, Suicide and Starvation.
3. Indiscriminate firing into the protesting
crowd that have resulted in Tibetan deaths have
been confirmed in Lhasa, Ngaba, and Karze
(Tongkhor Monastery, Chokri Monastery and Dabpa County).
4. Information available on 107 Tibetans with 113 yet to be identified.
5. Following events and information adds up to
more than 113 unidentified dead Tibetans:

    *  Largest number of Tibetan casualties
reported between the period of 14-17 March 2008.
At least 80 people were killed on 14 March 2008.
In further confirmation of such killings, an
estimated 80 bodies were seen piled near Lhasa
Public Security Bureau Office on 15 March 2008.
       -  On 28 March 2008, an estimated 83
bodies were cremated in a crematorium behind
Yabda Township, Toelung Dechen County, Lhasa Municipality.
       -  [Out of over 160 aforementioned Tibetan
deaths in March 2008 in Lhasa alone, information
available on over 40 Tibetans in the list].
       -  Of the 23 Tibetan deaths in Ngaba
protest of 16 March 2008, only 10 could be identified.
       -  Pema Thinlay, Vice-Chairman of the
"TAR", had acknowledged the death of three
protestors (unidentified) in a press conference in Lhasa on 27 March 2008.
       -  Deaths of three Tibetans (an elderly
person, one male and one female youth) from Dabpa
County, Karze "TAP", Sichuan Province. Initial
protest occurred on 7 March 2008 resulting in
shooting dead of the three unidentified Tibetans
four days later on 11 March 2008.

Reasons for unconfirmed identities of 113 dead Tibetans:

*  Of those killed in Lhasa, many did not possess
residence permit. These Tibetans were originally
from far-flung areas within the "TAR" such as
Kongpo, Chamdo etc. and also from the regions of
Kham and Amdo, who had come to Lhasa for purposes
of pilgrimage, business or temporary stay.
*  Chinese security forces had cremated many
bodies without informing the family members. As
disappearance cases of Tibetans in the aftermath
of 2008 protest totals over a thousand, it is
likely that many of the deaths went uninformed to
and unreported by the family members on the
assumption that their kin could have been disappeared or detained.
*  Information clampdown and blackout.

Figures of Tibetans Arrested, Sentenced, Dead and Missing

It is virtually impossible to determine the exact
number of Tibetans arrested, dead, sentenced, or
missing in Tibet considering the tremendous lack
of transparency and severe restrictions on
information flow in Tibet. It is, however,
believed that the actual figure of Tibetans
facing prison sentence, detention, disappearance
etc is likely to be much higher than what is reported here.

10 March 2008 -- 31 January 2009

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Central Tibetan
                 Administration          CHINA
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrest/Detention  Over 5,600         1,317 [Xinhua news report,
                                         5 Nov. 2008, and The
                                         Australian report,
                                         10 Nov 2008]

Sentenced         290                 76 [Nyima Tsering,
                                         Vice-Chairman of the
                                         Standing Committee of the
                                         Tibet Regional People's
                                         Congress said at a
                                         press conference held on
                                         10 Feb 2009]

Dead                 220                 19 [Xinhua news report, 5 Nov. 2008]

Injured                 Over 1,294         623 including 241 policemen
                                         [Xinhua news report, 5 Nov 2008]

Disappeared         Over 1,000
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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