In a new written statement, the Chinese government has rejected a judicial request for Chinese officials to testify in court in Madrid and demanded that the Spanish government block a ground-breaking investigation in the Spanish High Court on crimes against the Tibetan people, calling it a “false lawsuit.” Spain will take on the EU’s rotating presidency on 1 January 2010.
The letter is the first written response from the Chinese authorities since two Tibet lawsuits were accepted in 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.
Spanish Judge Santiago Pedraz informed the Chinese Ministry of Justice on May 5 of rulings against eight Chinese leaders, including Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary Zhang Qingli, in the Spanish High Court in connection with the harsh crackdown on dissent in Tibet that has been ongoing from March 2008. The judge had requested authorization from the Chinese ministry to question the defendants in China should they refuse to do so before the Spanish court.
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 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.
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