China to ratify UN pact against corruption
Updated: 2005-10-23 09:33
The Chinese government on Saturday tabled the international document with its
legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, for
ratification in less than two years after subscripting to the United Nations
Convention against Corruption.
The convention "is conducive to the repatriation of corrupt criminals fled
abroad and the recovery of Chinese assets illegally transferred to foreign
lands," Premier Wen Jiabao said in a bill submitted to the legislature.
China has been increasingly plagued by government officials and executives of
state-owned companies who abscond with a large sum of public money and flee
overseas to escape from prosecution and punishment.
Chinese police authorities said that by the end of last year, more than 500
Chinese suspects had committed economic crimes, most of whom were corrupt
officials, were at large in foreign countries, who carried with them a total of
70 billion yuan (8.4 billion US dollars) of illegal funds. Only a fraction of
them have been extradited back to China.
The UN anti-corruption convention, adopted by the UN General Assembly in
October 31, 2003, has made stipulations on the prevention, criminalization,
international cooperation, assets recovery and implementation mechanism in the
fight against transnational crimes of corruption.
The convention is consistent with China's anti-corruption strategy of putting
equal emphasis on punishment and prevention of such a crime and has no
contradictions with Chinese domestic laws in this regard, said Wu Dawei,
vice-minister of foreign affairs, at Saturday's legislative hearing.
"Most importantly, it will provides a strong international legal basis for
China to solve the current difficulties in investigating, extraditing criminal
suspects of corruption and recovering Chinese assets in foreign countries," Wu
The vice-minister also said China has played a "constructive role" in the
formulation of this legal document to make it reflect Chinese stance "to the
China has attached great importance to international cooperation in the fight
against corruption. Chinese prosecutors have captured a total of about 70
criminal suspects of corruption from abroad through legal assistance channels
with foreign countries since 1998.
The successful extradition from the United States of a local branch head of
the Bank of China in Guangdong Province in 2004 was lauded as the most powerful
deterrence for Chinese corrupt officials, since the country used to be taken as
the safest destination to escape from prosecution. Yu Zhendong, the banker,
misappropriated 483 million US dollars before fleeing to the United States.
Chinese police has also seized more than 230 Chinese criminal suspects from
more than 30 countries and regions during the period of 1993 to January this
year with the help of Interpol, the international police body.
Wu Dawei, vice-minister of foreign affairs, said that China is busy
formulating the law on the prevention and punishment of money laundry and
revising its criminal law, in an effort to better adapt Chinese legal system to
the UN anti-corruption convention upon its ratification.
China signed the document in December in 2003. By September 15,30 countries
have ratified the convention, which will goes into effect on December 14 this
The convention has been one of the most noticeable efforts of the United
Nations in tackling a growing trend of internationalization of corruption.
Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, said upon the adoption of the
convention that "Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds
intended for development, undermining a government's ability to provide basic
services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment