Bei­jing set­ting up G20’s 1st cen­ter to fight graft

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YAN and CaO YIN in Bei­jing

China is mov­ing quickly to im­ple­ment the anti-cor­rup­tion con­sen­sus reached at the G20 Sum­mit, which ended on Mon­day in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, by set­ting up the group’s first anti-graft re­search cen­ter in Bei­jing.

The cen­ter will pro­vide in­tel­li­gence sup­port in the hunt for eco­nomic fugi­tives and con­fis­ca­tion of their ill-got­ten as­sets.

Such a cen­ter will lay a solid foun­da­tion for stud­ies of cross-bor­der cor­rup­tion crimes .” Cai Wei, deputy di­rec­tor, CCDI’s Int’l Co­op­er­a­tion Bureau

The cen­ter, based at Bei­jing Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity, will of­fi­cially be­gin op­er­a­tions in a few months.

Dozens of ex­perts and pro­fes­sion­als who spe­cial­ize in graft-re­lated stud­ies from China and other G20 economies will be re­cruited, ac­cord­ing to the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s Cen­tral Com­mis­sion of Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the coun­try’s top dis­ci­pline watch­dog.

“The es­tab­lish­ment of such a cen­ter will lay a solid foun­da­tion for stud­ies of cross-bor­der cor­rup­tion crimes and of­fer in­tel­li­gence sup­port to fight cor­rup­tion glob­ally,” said Cai Wei, deputy di­rec­tor of the CCDI’s In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Bureau.

He said the cen­ter will con­duct in-depth re­search among G20 mem­bers on cor­rup­tion crimes, in­clud­ing com­par­ing do­mes­tic and for­eign laws, pro­ce­dures for con­fis­cat­ing il­le­gal as­sets and ex­tra­di­tion and ju­di­cial as­sis­tance. Transna­tional com­mer­cial bribery will also be stud­ied.

The cen­ter will also set up a data­base of ex­perts and lawyers from G20 mem­bers with knowl­edge of anti-cor­rup­tion law en­force­ment, crim­i­nal law and as­set re­cov­ery. These ex­perts will con­duct re­search and train­ing and will share their ex­pe­ri­ences in tack­ling such prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to the CCDI.

To en­hance in­ter­na­tional law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion, mem­bers of the G20 de­cided at the sum­mit to set up an an­ti­cor­rup­tion re­search cen­ter. Ad­di­tion­ally, they adopted the G20 2017-18 Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ac­tion Plan.

Cai said es­tab­lish­ing the anti­graft cen­ter in Bei­jing has won the sup­port of the G20 economies. “Western coun­tries are will­ing to of­fer in­tel­li­gence sup­port and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to hunt the fugi­tives, and the BRICS coun­tries (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa) ... are look­ing for­ward to hav­ing such a cen­ter.”

In re­cent years, many G20 economies, such as the United States, Canada and Aus­tralia, have be­come pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for flee­ing cor­rupt of­fi­cials, due to a lack of bi­lat­eral ex­tra­di­tion treaties and dif­fer­ences in laws, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity.

Since 2014, when China ini­ti­ated Skynet op­er­a­tions to tar­get the fugi­tives, 2,020 eco­nomic fugi­tives, in­clud­ing 342 cor­rupt of­fi­cials, have been brought back to face trial from more than 70 coun­tries and re­gions. Ad­di­tion­ally, 7.62 bil­lion yuan ($1.14 bil­lion) in il­le­gal funds has been seized, CCDI data show.

Huang Feng, an in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal law pro­fes­sor from Bei­jing Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity, said po­lit­i­cal and le­gal dif­fer­ences, as well as tech­no­log­i­cal and in­ves­tiga­tive short­com­ings, have hin­dered the progress in cap­tur­ing China’s fugi­tives and seiz­ing their ill-got­ten as­sets.

“Set­ting up such a cen­ter is considered an in­no­va­tion un­der the cur­rent anti-graft co­op­er­a­tive mech­a­nism, and it will serve as a plat­form to com­mu­ni­cate with the Western coun­tries and en­ables China to par­tic­i­pate in draw­ing up in­ter­na­tional anti­graft rules,” he said.

Eve­lyn Man toiu,a pol­icy an­a­lyst from the Uni­ver­sity of Sh­effield in the United King­dom who at­tended the Busi­ness 20 Sum­mit on Saturday in Hangzhou, said the es­tab­lish­ment of such a re­search cen­ter shows strong com­mit­ment from global lead­ers to tackle cor­rup­tion.

But the cen­ter will only be use­ful if re­search is car­ried out in­de­pen­dently and is peer-re­viewed, in or­der to min­i­mize the po­ten­tial of re­search bias, Man­toiu added.

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