From Overseas Press

Beijing goes global in anti-corruption drive

Updated: 2010-07-05 16:01
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As the domestic crackdown against corruption has been escalating, Beijing is making unprecedented moves to take the anti-bribery battle global by cooperating with foreign law enforcement agencies and international watchdogs, said an article in the South China Morning Post on July 4.

The article pointed out that the moves come as Beijing counts its multibillion-yuan losses from the squirreling away of funds by graft suspects who flee overseas. The Ministry of Public Security released figures in 2008 stating that more than 800 Chinese nationals accused of embezzling more than 70 billion yuan had fled overseas and that 500 remain at large.

Liao Ran of Transparency International, a Berlin-based independent advocacy group, said that Chinese prosecutors are in contact with other countries' prosecutors, and China is eager for bilateral cooperation with countries such as Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia because some corrupt Chinese officials have defected to those countries.

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According to the article, since 2006, Beijing has signed extradition treaties with more than 30 countries and regions, including Australia, Spain, and France. In the absence of extradition treaties, Chinese authorities have managed to cooperate with international counterparts to prosecute corrupt Chinese officials in China and abroad. In 2006, the US repatriated Yu Zhendong, the first Chinese citizen to be sent back after China ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption.

In addition to its law enforcement efforts, China is also working more closely with international partners on policy, the article said. "Over the past few years, China has attended meetings of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's anti-bribery working group as ad hoc observers. As ad hoc observers, Chinese officials give regular reports to the working group on their anti-corruption efforts."

At home, Chinese authorities also continue to enforce domestic anti-corruption laws, said the article. "In a March report to the National People's Congress, Prosecutor General Cao Jianming told lawmakers that prosecutors investigated roughly 32,000 cases of embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and other work-related crimes last year."

"Corruption remains one of the [hindrances] for investors coming into China. The government is keenly aware of that, and they are trying to address it," said Violet Ho, head of China operations for Kroll, a global risk consulting firm.