BEIJING - China denounced on Monday a decision by a Spanish criminal court to indict former Chinese president Hu Jintao for genocide as part of an investigation into whether his government committed abuses in Tibet.
The Spanish National Court last week accepted a Tibetan advocacy group's appeal in a case asserting that Hu had supported genocidal policies when he was Communist Party secretary in the Himalayan region from 1988-1992 and after he took over as China's head of state in 2003.
The ruling could lead to moves to seek Hu's arrest in Spain or other countries with which it shares an extradition treaty, though in practice he is unlikely to ever face a Spanish court.
"We firmly oppose any country or person attempting to use this issue to interfere with China's internal affairs," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.
Communist Chinese troops took control of Tibet in 1950.
China says it "peacefully liberated" the remote mountainous region that it says was mired in poverty, exploitation and economic stagnation.
Tibet's Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule. Exiled Tibetan groups are campaigning for the return of the Dalai Lama and self-rule for their region.
Hua said the group that launched the legal case was trying to damage the "extremely friendly" relations between China and Spain.
"The Tibetan group's purpose is extremely obvious and its political motives are sinister - to destroy the relations between China and the relevant country and to attack China's government," Hua said.
Hu was succeeded as president in March by Xi Jinping.