Cleaning up cor­rup­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN

Most of the sto­ries I cov­ered this year fea­tured the search for and repa­tri­a­tion of cor­rupt of­fi­cials and busi­ness­peo­ple who had fled over­seas, and the con­fis­ca­tion of their ill-got­ten gains. The work of China’s ju­di­cial of­fi­cers and the co­op­er­a­tion of many for­eign gov­ern­ments have re­sulted in great progress in bring­ing these peo­ple to book.

By the end of last month, the po­lice had repa­tri­ated 908 eco­nomic fugi­tives, in­clud­ing 122 cor­rupt of­fi­cials, from more than 70 coun­tries and re­gions to face trial, and they re­cov­ered 2.31 bil­lion yuan ($33.9 mil­lion) in stolen as­sets. This year was the first time that the num­ber of new eco­nomic fugi­tives added to the list had fallen.

As a re­porter, I cher­ish the chance to talk with Chi- nese ju­di­cial of­fi­cers and their for­eign coun­ter­parts, and also to get close to the fugi­tives and learn more about their thoughts and lives dur­ing their time on the run.

When in­ter­viewed, most of them ex­pressed con­cerns for the fu­ture and re­gret­ted that they had been forced to con­ceal their real iden­ti­ties as they wan­dered from place to place to avoid de­tec­tion. Most were gen­uinely re­lieved when caught, and were pre­pared to re­turn vol­un­tar­ily and con­fess their crimes to en­sure a more le­nient pun­ish­ment.

In ad­di­tion to strength­ened co­op­er­a­tion, China also im­proved in­tel­li­gence shar­ing and case in­ves­ti­ga­tion with West­ern coun­tries dur­ing the G20 Sum­mit, held in Septem­ber in Zhe­jiang prov­ince. The G20 mem­bers all promised to work closely to com­bat cross-bor­der cor­rup­tion.

Dur­ing in­ter­views, I learned about some of the tech­ni­cal prob­lems that hin­der the process of deep­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries, in ad­di­tion to a lack of ex­tra­di­tion treaties signed with West­ern na­tions.

The Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, China’s top anti-graft watch­dog, said the pri­or­ity is to cul­ti­vate pro­fes­sional law en­force­ment per­son­nel, who speak flu­ent English and are able to un­der­stand do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional laws.

More­over, moves are be­ing made to pro­vide China’s part­ners with a “com­plete chain of ev­i­dence” when re­quest­ing as­sis­tance.

YIN GANG / XIN­HUA

Yang Xi­uzhu, China’s most-wanted eco­nomic fugi­tive, vol­un­tar­ily re­turned to the coun­try and turned her­self in af­ter 13 years on the run.

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