World / US and Canada

Fugitive quits bid for asylum in US

By Bian Ji ( Updated: 2016-07-25 11:24

China's most wanted economic fugitive, Yang Xiuzhu, has reportedly given up her application for political asylum in the United States, and wants to return to China as soon as possible.

Fugitive quits bid for asylum in US

Yang, being held at the Houston Immigration Detention Center in Texas, said she hoped to return to China to get access to better medical treatment, according to a recent report by World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper in the United States.

"She calls me repeatedly these days, asking when she can go back," Yang's lawyer, Ke Ziming (Vlad Kuzmin), told World Journal.

Ke (Kuzmin) said Yang's legal team has submitted paperwork to terminate her application for political asylum filed with the federal immigration court and is waiting for a reply, which normally takes one to four weeks to process.

She is expected to return to China as early as August, the report said.

Yang, 70, was former deputy head of the construction bureau in Zhejiang province and the head of the provincial office of urbanization before she fled China about 13 years ago. She had also been vice-mayor of Wenzhou, in the same province, from 1995 to 1998.

Yang tops the list of 100 Chinese fugitives who are suspected of economic crimes and subject to an Interpol red notice.

She fled to the US in April 2003 when evidence of corrupt conduct was uncovered after her brother Yang Guangrong was arrested by the procuratorate in Zhejiang in March 2003 on charges of accepting bribes from local real estate developers.

She was accused of taking bribes worth more than 250 million yuan ($37.4 million). Of that, 42.4 million yuan has been recovered, authorities said.

Her brother was sentenced to 16-and-a-half years in prison in November 2004 for accepting 180,000 yuan in bribes.

According to Ke, Yang feels that she has not been getting proper treatment in the current detention facility, which she was transferred to in July from a detention facility in Hudson, New Jersey, which rejected her request for medical parole.

Yang was arrested in the Netherlands in 2005 but escaped detention in May 2014 after being rejected for political asylum. She fled to Canada and then entered the US, which has no extradition treaty with China.

Former officials like Yang have been in the crosshairs of the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection as the nationwide anti-corruption campaign has picked up steam recently, especially after it expanded overseas last year with its Sky Net operation, aimed at catching corrupt Party members who have absconded with stolen wealth.

A third of the suspects on the list have returned to China, either by force or on their volition, according to the top anti-graft agency.

Zhang Yi and Nancy Kong contributed to this story.

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