Falungong sues Chinese officials in Netherlands ahead of EU-China summit

China's Falungong spiritual group has launched legal action in the Dutch courts against three Chinese officials, including former president Jiang Zemin, for alleged genocide and torture, days before an EU-China summit in The Hague, the group's lawyer said Friday.

The group claims that at least 1,600 of its members have been tortured or beaten to death in China since a crackdown ordered four years ago largely drove the organisation underground.

The Falungong once claimed millions of followers on the mainland but has been outlawed as an "evil cult" by China since 1999.

Liesbeth Zegveld told a press conference in The Hague that the action taken Thursday was justified by the fact that two Dutch citizens were among the victims of Chinese persecution.

As well as Jiang, those targeted are Trade Minister Bo Xilai, who is expected to take part in the December 8 summit alongside Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and a former member of the ruling Communist Party secretariat, Li Lanqing.

Zegveld said Bo was governor of Liaoning province, "where many Falungong followers were persecuted."

A decision on whether to prosecute the three is not expected to be taken for several weeks.