Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tibet: Spain passes the reverse gear

Wu Yingjie meets Spanish officials
Madrid has finally understood: China is a Big Country and one can't 'attack' with impunity the Middle Kingdom.
The article from El Pais posted below says that Spain is now ready to reduce  the powers of its judiciary in the field of 'universal justice cases' and this after Beijing warned of 'damaged relations' (if Madrid does not listen).
Last month, the same newspaper had reported: "China has expressed is 'great discontent' about the Spanish High Court’s decision on Tuesday to issue an arrest warrant for former President Jiang Zemin, 87, and other Chinese Communist Party members, over the genocide in Tibet."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had then urged Spain "to face up to China’s solemn position, change the wrong decision, repair the severe damage, and refrain from sending wrong signals to the Tibetan independence forces and hurting China-Spain relations.”
El Pais explained the context: "The investigation derives from a 2006 lawsuit brought by Tibet human rights organizations and Sherpa Thubten Wangchen, a Spanish national, over a combined series of actions by the Chinese government aimed at 'eliminating the idiosyncrasy and existence of the country of Tibet itself."
For the Spanish laws, the universal jurisdiction principle is however limited to cases in which a Spanish national is affected by crimes outside its borders.
Now the question remains: is the decision of the Spanish government (to change its legislation), related to the visit of Wu Yingjie, the Party's Deputy Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region?
Several times I have mentioned  on this blog the failure of this old Han cadre (39 years in Tibet, though he is only 57 years old) to propagate the massline campaign in Nagchu/Driru.
If Mr. Wu did it, then Beijing should think to give him a foreign assignment instead of let him languish in a remote Tibetan prefecture.

Rajoy government bids to halt Tibet case against Chinese officials
El Pais
December 17, 2013
Spain plans to reduce judiciary’s powers in universal justice cases after Beijing warned of damaged relations
In an effort to head off a diplomatic crisis, the Popular Party (PP) government is planning to limit the Spanish judiciary's powers to investigate human rights crimes in other countries, Justice Ministry sources said.
Proposed changes to the law that outlines the judiciary's jurisdiction come after the High Court last month issued arrest warrants for five top Chinese officials, including China's former president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng, alleging they were responsible for "genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and terrorism" against Tibetans in the 1980s and 1990s. It based its prosecution on the doctrine of universal justice.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is highly concerned about the High Court's arrest warrants and how they could damage Spanish-Chinese relations after Beijing issued a warning to this effect, sources said. Rajoy had planned on visiting China in September but the trip was suddenly called off.
Changes to the Organic Act of the Judicial Power will be presented in January. Specifically, modifications will be made to article 23, which gives Spanish courts jurisdiction to investigate human rights crimes when "the alleged offenders are in Spain or when there are victims that have connections or links that are relative to Spain," and have not been tried in other countries for the same crimes. This same clause was changed in 2009 under pressure from the Israeli government when the High Court tried to indict Israel's former defense minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, for killings that took place in Gaza seven years earlier.
Rajoy fears that China might adopt retaliatory measures against Spain as it did against Norway when dissident Liu Xiaobo was given the Nobel Peace prize.

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