Comment: Extradite criminals

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-28 06:51

Corruption is a universal evil that eats away at the very foundation of justice and fairness that crosses national boundaries.

It should be easy for countries with different political systems to reach a consensus on concerted international efforts against corruption as this evil transcends national differences.

But, ironically, some developed Western countries continue to provide a haven for corrupt Chinese officials seeking to escape punishment for theft of public funds.

Statistics from the Ministry of Public Security indicate that more than 800 suspects wanted for economic crimes remain at large, mostly in several Western countries. They are suspected of fleeing to these countries with a total of some 70 billion yuan ($9 billion) in embezzled cash. A Chinese official last week called for cooperation with Western countries in extraditing these suspects to stand trial for their crimes.

Ideological differences have often been used by these countries to delay signing extradition treaties with China. But the fact is self-evident that there is no connection to ideological differences in the fight against corruption.

Fear of the death penalty or torture has been used by the fugitives to avoid extradition. Yet, talks should be the best way to iron out differences.

What is evident is the fact that the suspects who have fled the country have benefited from the stumbling blocks that prevent China from bringing them to justice. They continue to live above the law, spending stolen money on luxury houses, limousines and other symbols of the good life.

Their escape from justice defies the principles of justice and fairness. These suspects remaining free challenge efforts to establish a fair and just world order.

Their escape encourages more corrupt officials to follow suit. This has certainly made China's anti-corruption campaign more difficult.

The sooner a worldwide extradition mechanism is established, the more effective the net to nab corrupt officials will become.

(China Daily 05/28/2007 page4)

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