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Spanish court orders arrest of ex-China Pres, PM

China on Wednesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at a Spanish court's orders to arrest former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng on allegations of genocide in Tibet, if they travelled abroad.

world Updated: Nov 20, 2013 21:48 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

China on Wednesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at a Spanish court's orders to arrest former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng on allegations of genocide in Tibet, if they travelled abroad.

Beijing said it was an attempt to damage China's international relations, adding such attempts could harm China-Spain relations.

Separately, Beijing lashed out at Japanese lawmakers for meeting Tibetan religious leader, the India-based Dalai Lama, calling him a separatist who was hiding under the "disguise of religion".

Responding to a question on the Spanish court's order, foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said China has asked Spain for clarifications on the ruling.

According to agency reports, two Tibetan support groups and a monk with Spanish nationality brought the case against the former leaders in 2006, using Spanish law that allows suspects to be tried for human rights abuses committed abroad when a Spanish victim is involved.

"Overseas Tibet separatists have been repeatedly making rumours and (leveling) slanders to attack the Chinese government and harm relations between China and other countries. Such means are doomed to failure," Hong said on Wednesday at the regular press briefing.

Saying that China's position on Tibet was clear and consistent, Hong added that if the reports were true then China was "strongly dissatisfied".

He added: "We hope relevant sides in Spain can take China's position seriously and do not do things to harm the Chinese side and the relationship between China and Spain.

In reference to Dalai Lama addressing Japanese parliamentarians, Hong said China has expressed its opinion on him.

"He is not merely a religious person. He is a separatist under the disguise of religion. We firmly oppose any country or any person or government officials meeting with Dalai Lama and providing a platform for him to carry out separatist activities against China," Hong said.

Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule. He has been living in India since then while exiled Tibetan groups have continued to campaign for his return to China and for self-rule for their region.

More than 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting against Chinese rule since 2009, mainly in heavily ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces rather than in what China terms the Tibet Autonomous Region. Most of those who self-immolated died.