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
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
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)