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China steps up intl anti-corruption cooperation

Updated: Apr 2,2015 3:25 PM     Xinhua

Chinese authorities are taking measures to strengthen cooperation with the international community to fight corruption following the recently launched anti-graft campaign “Sky Net”, aimed at capturing fugitives overseas implicated in economic crimes.

The country’s Ministry of Public Security on April 1 kicked off “Fox Hunt 2015”, targeting economic suspects, corrupt members of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and government officials.

The move is part of a larger campaign code-named “Sky Net”, which was launched late March and combines government, the CPC, law enforcement agencies, the central bank and diplomatic services.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the new party leadership has always adhered to a zero-tolerance stance against corruption, taking tough measures to curb the spread of this criminal act at home and chase fugitives and illegal assets abroad.

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing last November, the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption was adopted, with APEC members pledging to eliminate corruption through extradition and judicial assistance and more flexible legal measures to recover the proceeds of crime.

Last year, China finished negotiations on extradition or administrative judicial treaties with 10 countries including France, Spain, Britain and Italy.

As of November 2014, China concluded a total of 39 extradition treaties, including 29 that have taken effect; and 52 criminal judicial assistance treaties, with 46 already in force.

Meanwhile, law enforcement cooperation between China and the United States, Canada and Australia, the three major destinations fugitive Chinese corrupt officials head to, are also making steady progress within the framework of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which refers to the hunting of fugitive corrupt officials and the recovery of money.

In June 2013, China and Canada finished the negotiation of an agreement on sharing and returning recovered assets. It is China’s first special agreement on the issue.

Last year, the central authority’s anti-graft coordination group set up an office to pursue fugitive suspects and stolen assets in foreign countries.

In October 2014, China and the United States agreed to strengthen cooperation in investigating, tracing, freezing, retrieving and returning stolen assets.

Also in October 2014, Australia said it would help China pursue fugitive suspects and stolen assets, becoming the first country that expressed willingness to cooperate with China in the three major destinations for fugitive Chinese corrupt officials.

During a two-day summit last November in Brisbane, Australia, the G20 leaders endorsed an Anti-Corruption Action Plan in a bid to support growth and resilience, which includes actions to enhance mutual legal assistance, recovery of the proceeds of corruption, and denial of safe heaven to corrupt officials.

With the continued promotion of international anti-corruption cooperation, China has made remarkable achievements in pursuing fugitive suspects and stolen assets abroad.

In 2013, 762 people suspected of criminality in taking advantage of their positions of power were brought back to China from abroad, with 10.14 billion yuan ($1.63 billion) confiscated, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).

A total of 749 fugitive officials suspected of committing work-related crimes were captured last year, the SPP said in a report.

Operation “Fox Hunt 2014”, which began in the second half of last year and ended on Dec. 31, alone resulted in the trapping of 680 corrupt officials and economic crime suspects who have fled China, the Ministry of Public Security said earlier this year.

Of those seized, 390 turned themselves in; 208 are implicated in cases involving over 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) each; and 117 had been at large for over a decade, with one person on the run for 22 years.

The fugitives were seized in 69 countries and regions, said the ministry.