Sino-US cooperation can help anti-graft drive
President Xi Jinping has said it is the responsibility of all countries to maintain the world order and international system with the UN Charter at its core, and promote newtype of win-win international relations. And since China and the US both are permanent members of the UN Security Council, they are obliged to establish and develop bilateral legal cooperation to fight corruption based on the UN Charter.
China and theUS have their own traditions and experiences of the rule of law. So the global fight against corruption should be based on international law, which respects the sovereignty of China and the US both. The two sides also have to help establish the global legal principles and measures that yield mutual benefit and promote Sino-US cooperation.
The UN began promoting international cooperation to combat corruption in the 1970s. The UNConvention against Corruption issued in 2003 established the principles, rules and regulations for global legal cooperation against corruption, which should also be the basis of Sino-US legal cooperation to fight corruption.
The UN Convention stipulates the obligations the member states must fulfill. All the contracting parties, including China and the US, should comply with these international obligations. In terms of global cooperation against corruption, Beijing andWashington should abide by the Convention and work out more specific measures that suit the actual situations of both sides through negotiation.
The Convention spells out many measures to effectively crack down on corruption. Article 51 of the Convention stipulates the measures for the return of assets, and Article 26 stipulates the liability of legal persons. To effectively implement these measures, there should be a systemic guarantee.
Article 65 explains the Implementation of the Convention: Each state party shall take necessary measures, including legislative and administrative measures, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic laws, to ensure the implementation of its obligations under this Convention.
Another important implementation mechanism of this Convention is the Conference of the State Parties to the Convention stipulated by Article 63, and established to improve the capacity of and cooperation between State Parties to achieve the objectives set forth in this Convention and to promote and reviewits implementation.
In the first Conference of the State Parties to the Convention, the contracting states discussed the issue of return of assets. Every party realized the international anti-corruption cooperation based on the Convention is complicated. It is very difficult to chase and return assets illegally transferred to foreign countries, which many a time results in frictions among states. The Conference cites the example of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to illustrate how to overcome this special difficulty.
To propel global cooperation against corruption, the UN has launched several conferences and passed several resolutions. The latest resolution is the UN A/ RES/69/199 Resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on Dec 18, 2014. The resolution stresses that “those who engage in corrupt practices, whether natural or legal persons, consistent with domestic law and the requirements of the Convention, should be held accountable and prosecuted by their domestic authorities, and that all appropriate efforts should be made to conduct a financial investigation into assets illegally acquired by them and to recover such assets through domestic confiscation proceedings, international cooperation for purposes of confiscation or appropriate direct recovery measures”.
The resolution also says: “State parties to the Convention shall give timely consideration to mutual legal assistance requests relating to the identification, freezing, tracing and/or recovery of proceeds of corruption and to respond effectively to requests”.
These are the broad areas in which China and the US can cooperate to combat corruption.
It’s high time, therefore, that China and the US increased the number and widened the scope of dialogues to combat corruption on the global level, and deepened their cooperation mechanism in accordance with the Convention, because these would be to their mutual benefit
The author is a professor of law at Renmin University of China.