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Watchdogs vow to keep sniffing out fugitive corruption suspects

By ZHANG YANGFEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-11-11 09:04
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Report trumpets efforts made in bringing back 7,831 people who had fled abroad

China will keep on tracking down fugitives who have fled overseas and recovering the assets they have stolen until they are all returned, the country's top anti-graft watchdogs said on Monday.

The Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission released a report on Monday that said China has vigorously promoted international anti-corruption cooperation and tracked down fugitives and stolen assets around the world.

From 2014 to June this year, 7,831 fugitives were brought back to China from more than 120 countries and regions-including 60 of its 100 most-wanted corruption fugitives who were the subject of Interpol Red Notices-the report said, with illegal gains worth 19.65 billion yuan ($2.82 billion) retrieved.

A CCDI official who works on fugitive repatriation and asset recovery said anti-corruption work and international searches for fugitives and lost assets are major concerns for the Party and the Chinese people.

The work is a reflection of the Party's strict disciplines and must be carried out unswervingly and persistently, the official said, adding that "as long as one fugitive is still at large, the work will never stop".

The report said China is firm in its commitment to international anti-corruption work. On Oct 22, the G20-an international forum consisting of 19 countries, including China, and the European Union-signed a ministerial communique during a meeting of anti-corruption ministers calling on all its members to strengthen international cooperation in the pursuit of fugitives and play a leading role in the global anti-corruption cause.

China has proposed three "zero "principles for the global fight against corruption-zero tolerance, zero loopholes and zero obstacles in cooperation-and has said they have become the consensus of the international community and have received positive responses from an increasing number of countries.

The country has also been active in promoting the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and its achievements in anti-corruption work have earned widespread praise from the international community.

In September, officials from the National Supervisory Commission exchanged experiences with envoys from the 10 members of ASEAN. Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore's ambassador to China, said he admired China's anti-corruption achievements, which were inseparable from the core leadership, as well as the nation's strong determination and political courage.

"Many countries have expressed their cooperative support for China's pursuit of fugitives and have given glowing evaluations of the results," said Yang Chao, a researcher at the G20's research center on fighting corruption, fugitive repatriation and asset recovery.

Using the hunt for two fugitives who fled to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as an example, Yang said the Caribbean countries had provided active support when they learned the fugitives were suspected of corruption and duty crimes.

Song Wei, a professor at the University of Science and Technology Beijing, said that during a visit to Columbia University in the United States he learned that China's efforts to hunt down fugitives and recover stolen assets are unparalleled, with people in most countries, including many Western countries, praising the just cause.

The report said two fugitives on the Red Notice list have been returned to China this year. Hu Yipin, the former head of Bank of Communications in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, was arrested in Vietnam and sent back to China in April. Qiang Tao, an accountant at China Railway Construction Corporation, was caught in Myanmar and returned to China in May.

They fled overseas in March during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said, adding that their capture showed the outbreak will not hinder the pace of fugitive pursuit.

"It also shows that China has formed an effective working mechanism for fugitive repatriation and asset recovery," it said.

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