Spanish court probes Chinese 'genocide' in Tibet
6 June 2006, MADRID — Spain's national court opened an investigation into the supposed genocide perpetrated by the Chinese government in Tibet.
6 June 2006
MADRID — Spain's national court opened an investigation into the supposed genocide perpetrated by the Chinese government in Tibet.
Thubten Wangchen, the director of the Tibet House Foundation in Barcelona, was questioned as a witness in the case.
Wangchen simply confirmed accusations made by the complainant, the Support Tibet Committee (CAT), which accuses seven Chinese leaders of the death or disappearance of more than a million Tibetans since the beginning of the Chinese army occupation in 1951.
Judge Ismael Moreno will preside over trial of the case in the national court, which for purposes of the investigation has dispatched commissions to the United Kingdom and Canada to question other victims and witnesses.
After taking the stand, the Tibetan exile, a nationalized Spaniard presenting his own individual accusation, told reporters that this was "an historic day" because "for the first time" a Tibetan gets to tell a judge what happened in Tibet.
In his testimony to the magistrate, he said that the object of the trial is not so much that the accused members of the Chinese government be handed over to Spain, but that "what happened in Tibet be discussed at an international level," so that "the Chinese government admits its errors and begins to respect human rights".
Wangchen said as China enters into full-scale economic expansion, its government "is not interested in anyone talking about Tibet".
But instead it wants people to know about "its lamas and spirituality".
"The public has no idea of the suffering of the Tibetan people," Wangchen said, complaining that repression still goes on "because there is no freedom of speech, or of education, or of religion," and even possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama is a crime.
Wangchen told how in 1987, after returning to Tibet as a tourist guide for some Spanish business owners, he was detained and threatened with death for carrying a photograph of the Dalai Lama, although finally he was let go to avoid a diplomatic incident with Spain.
The National Court declared itself competent to investigate the alleged genocide, by reason of the impossibility of its ever being investigated by either Chinese courts or the International Criminal Court (ICC).
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news