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G20 will cooperate in battle to fight graft

By Zhang Yanin Beijing and Caoyin in Hangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-06 08:03

Members agree to advance campaign, close doors to corrupt fugitive officials

Members of the G20 have agreed to advance the anti-corruption campaign and refuse to offer "safe havens" for corrupt officials who remain at large in foreign countries.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the two-day G20 Leaders Summit in the lakeside city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, President Xi Jinping said important breakthroughs have been made this year in the fight against graft with fugitive repatriations and recovery of assets.

G20 members have decided to set up an anti-corruption research center in Beijing to provide intelligence support for capturing fugitives and recovering their illegal assets. The summit also passed the G20 2017-18 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, Xi said.

"These anti-graft achievements will leave corrupt officials no place to hide in G20 members' territories and in the world at large," Xi said. In recent years, many G20 economies, including the United States and Canada, have become popular destinations for fugitive corrupt officials due to the lack of signed bilateral extradition treaties and legal differences, according to China's Ministry of Public Security. Many corrupt officials have transferred billions of yuan in ill-gotten assets to foreign accounts either through money-laundering and underground banks, according to the ministry.

The anti-graft achievements are aimed at creating "a zero-tolerance, zero-loophole and zero-obstacle anti-corruption international cooperation mechanism to fight corrupt suspects and confiscate their illegal proceeds," according to a statement provided by the nation's top corruption watchdog, the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

According to the CCDI, the advanced anti-corruption campaign covers a range of important issues, including refusing fugitives entry into their destination countries, setting up investigation procedures for individual cases and improving cooperative legal frameworks, which will "clearly require the countries concerned to provide favorable conditions for catching fugitives."

Gao Bo, a political researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the anti-graft consensus reached at the G20 Summit will establish "a win-win situation among the G20 economies, reflect more concerns from developing countries', and make a political commitment to strengthen international anti-graft cooperation".

Huang Feng, an international criminal law professor at Beijing Normal University, said that these achievements will enable G20 economies to "put aside political and legislative differences to look for common interests, while establishing a cooperative mechanism on information sharing, joint investigation, rapid repatriation, capability building and assets recovery."

Wang Junlin, a senior lawyer specializing in international commerce and business competition who attended the Business 20 Summit in Hangzhou on Saturday, said he expected more such international anti-graft agreements to be put into practice.

"When our cooperation in this area develops well, I think G20 members will better understand one another, which is conducive to further intergovernmental work."

To capture economic fugitives, China set up in 2014 the Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group, led by the CCDI, and launched special campaigns - including Sky Net - to hunt for economic fugitives and confiscate their illegal proceeds.

Since 2014, 2,020 economic fugitives, including 342 corrupt officials, have been brought back to China from more than 70 countries and regions to face trial. Meanwhile, 7.62 billion yuan ($1.14 billion) in illegal funds had been seized, according to the CCDI.

Contact the writers at zhangyan1@chinadaily.com.cn

 G20 will cooperate in battle to fight graft

Students from a primary school in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, draw a painting about clean governance together with Communist Party of China members during an anti-corruption education session on May 13.  Cao Jianxiong / For China Daily

 

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