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China Criticizes Argentina for Arrest Request of Jiang Zemin, Falun Gong Support


China is calling on the government of Argentina to 'properly handle' an Argentine court ruling that calls for the arrest of China's former top leader.

The case centers around Falun Gong, a spiritual group that was banned in China in 1999, after thousands of members surrounded the Chinese leadership compound in central Beijing.

Recently, an Argentine judge asked Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former security chief Luo Gan. They are charged with crimes against humanity.

The ruling was made after a four-year investigation into charges of torture and genocide against Falun Gong, which Beijing considers a cult.

Mr. Jiang was president when China outlawed Falun Gong and launched a campaign against the group. Since then, thousands of Chinese have been jailed or sentenced to labor camps because of Falun Gong affiliations.

Many Falun Gong practitioners have been driven underground or into exile, helping the group attract followers around the world.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Thursday her government follows Chinese law in clamping down on Falun Gong.

Jiang accuses Falun Gong supporters of trying to take advantage of foreign judicial procedures to bring malicious accusations against China and undermine its relations with other countries.

She did not specify how this court order could hurt China's relations with Argentina, but she curtly urged the Argentine government to, in her words, "properly handle this."

Argentina's president is expected to visit China in January.