Fewer graft suspects fled China in 2016 as anti-corruption drive continues

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/4/26 7:27:57

The top anti-graft body of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Tuesday said the number of corrupt officials that fled overseas saw a drastic decrease last year, as the country's popular anti-corruption campaign continues to gain momentum.

In a report posted on its website, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said a total of 19 fugitive suspects fled China last year, compared with 31 in 2015 and 101 in 2014.

"The sharp decrease in numbers ... indicates that important progress have been achieved in the current stage to return graft fugitives and their illicit gains from overseas," the report read.

China is in the middle of an anti-corruption campaign targeting both high-ranking "tigers" and low-level "flies," the terms assigned to different officials depending on rank and level of corruption.

With the space for graft and power abuse considerably narrowed at home the country is also increasingly looking to international cooperation in apprehending suspects overseas.

To do so, an operation codenamed "Sky Net" was launched in 2014, and an office for capturing suspects and recovering ill-gotten assets abroad comprising personnel from eight party and government departments including the CCDI, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in addition to the country's top court and procuratorate, was established.

Provincial authorities also set up special offices at local levels to assist the search, the report said.

Meanwhile, a database have been established to manage information on corrupt officials who have fled overseas and a system to receive information from the public.

As a result, close to 2,900 graft fugitives who had fled to over 90 countries and regions have been returned to China by the end of March this year, the CCDI report said.

Some 9 billion yuan (about 1.31 billion US dollars) of illegal assets have also been recovered, it added.

Among those returned included 40 corrupt officials listed in an Interpol "red notice" of China's top 100 fugitives.

In particular, Yang Xiuzhu, the No. 1 most wanted on the list returned to China on Nov. 16, 2016 and turned herself in to authorities after spending 13 years on the run.

The CCDI noted that most of the returned corrupt officials on the "red notice" had been persuaded to turn themselves in voluntarily.

In the latest case, Li Shiqiao, former general manager of a real estate company in Ningbo City in east China's Zhejiang Province, returned from Canada and turned himself in earlier this month, after fleeing the country to Canada in April 2009.

International cooperation has also played a significant part in the office's work, the CCDI noted in the report. It said anti-corruption and law enforcement cooperations between China and other countries such as the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand have yielded positive results.

So far, 48 countries have signed treaties on extradition with China, while anti-graft bodies from over 90 countries and regions have established friendly ties with their Chinese counterparts.

Beijing has also helped form a cross-border law enforcement network to strengthen transnational anti-corruption cooperation.

During the APEC meeting in Beijing in 2014, the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption was adopted, with an aim to eliminate corruption through extradition and judicial assistance and more flexible legal measures to recover stolen money.

Last year, G20 leaders also endorsed the High Level Principles on Cooperation on Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery, and the 2017-2018 G20 Anti-corruption Action Plan in Hangzhou.

China will continue to maintain an iron hand to return graft fugitives and their illicit gains from overseas, and promote transnational anti-corruption cooperation, the report said citing an unnamed CCDI official.


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