China has been accused of pressuring Madrid to change the law which has made it possible for a Spanish court to cite Chinese leaders over human rights issues, reported the Central Tibetan Administration on Feb. 12, 2014. Thubten Wangchen, who is a member of the exiled Tibetan parliament, has said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has moved to limit the use of “universal jurisdiction”, in dealing with certain cases of human rights abuses which have been committed in other countries, in order to appease China.
On Monday a Spanish judge sought international arrest warrants for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and four other top Chinese officials as part of a probe which has been opened into alleged genocide in Tibet under th doctrine of "universal jurisdiction". Thubten, who is a Spanish citizen who was born in Tibet in 1954, but who became an exile with his family when he was a child, raised the case in a Spanish court in 2006 along with two Tibetan support groups. China, which is a major economic partner of Spain, reacted with anger to the judge’s move, saying Beijing was “strongly dissatisfied”.
Thubten claims Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party is in support of the Chinese government and is therefore changing the law. Thubten said, “There is no other reason. The Chinese government is putting a great deal of pressure on Rajoy’s government and therefore poor Rajoy has to take note and obey China, there is no other choice.” Under a bill which was introduced last month by the Popular Party, Spanish judges will only be able to investigate crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide if the suspect is a Spanish national, a foreigner who is living in Spain or a foreigner in Spain whose extradition has been denied. This will be another victory for intimidation methods of Beijing worldwide if this new bill becomes law in Spain.