May 8, 2009
BEIJING (AFP) -- China defended Thursday its actions in Tibet after a Spanish judge said he wanted to question eight senior Chinese officials as suspects in a genocide case linked to the region.
Spanish National Court judge Santiago Pedraz said Tuesday he wanted to investigate a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet on 14 March 2008 after four days of peaceful protests against Chinese rule.
"The 14 March incident that happened in Lhasa last year was a serious criminal act of violence and the Chinese government had the right to handle it according to law," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters.
"We urge relevant countries to observe the international law and fundamental norms governing international relations, and not to encourage separatist forces."
But Ma refused to comment on whether Chinese authorities would grant the Spanish judge permission to travel to China to question the eight, who include Defence Minister Liang Guanglie.
A suit was filed against the Chinese officials 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 10 March 2008, and just goes to prove that acts of genocide continue to be committed against the Tibetan people".
The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in China's subsequent crackdown. Beijing insists that only one "insurgent" was killed and has accused the "rioters" of killing 21 people.
The suit 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."
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