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Xinhua Insight: China escalates war on "foxes"

English.news.cn   2015-01-08 23:54:14

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- While swatting "flies" and caging "tigers" at home, China has also gone all out to hunt the "foxes."

Operation "Fox Hunt 2014", which ended on Dec. 31, resulted in the trapping of 680 foxes; corruptive officials and economic crime suspects who have fled the country, the Ministry of Public Security announced Thursday.

Fox Hunt aimed to "block the last route of retreat" of corrupt officials as the domestic squeeze has narrowed the space for abuse of power and survival.

Of those seized, 390 turned themselves in; 208 are implicated in cases involving over ten million yuan (1.6 million U.S. dollars); and 117 had been at large for over a decade, one having been on the run for 22 years.

The fugitives were seized in 69 countries and regions, assistant police chief Meng Qingfeng said, adding that over 70 police teams had been sent overseas on the hunt. A total of 332 gave themselves up after October's ultimatum: Give yourself up before Dec. 1 to receive more lenient sentences.

"Behind the hunt for fugitives lies judicial justice," said Meng. If they can't be apprehended, demands for judicial fairness will come to nothing, he said.

Besides the seizure of fugitives, cash and property has also be recovered.

"The exhaustive overseas hunt has become a huge deterrent to corruption," said Xu Yaotong, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance. The operation not only captured a number of crooks on the run, but uncovered information leading to the investigation of more suspects.

Corruptive Chinese officials and businessmen have a long history of fleeing to other counties.

The smuggling ring boss Lai Changxing as well as Gao Shan, former director of the Bank of China Hesongjie Branch, among others, avoided legal sanction for years by hiding in Canada, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea before being brought back to China to face the music.

"The international hunt for corrupt officials and economic crime suspects is part of the anti-corruption war. No matter where they flee to, they can't escape the law," Chen Zhijun, law professor of the People's Public Security University of China.

As China steps up the corruption fight, the number of officials on the lam is expected to increase. There is no authoritative data, but many officials have sent their sons or daughters abroad to live and study, feeding public speculation that they may try to seek a shelter for their family before their possible fall.

China signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2005.During the APEC meeting in Beijing in November, the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption was adopted, with APEC members pledging to eliminate corruption through extradition and judicial assistance with more flexible legal measures to recover the proceeds of crime.

So far, China has concluded a total of 39 extradition treaties, including 29 that have taken effect; and 52 criminal judicial assistance treaties, with 46 already in force.

Law enforcement cooperation between China and the United States, Canada and Australia, the three major destinations for fugitive officials, is making steady progress.

Despite of the successes, the international hunt of suspects is an arduous task, according to Liu Dong, who was in charge of "Fox Hunt 2014".

Different countries have different judicial systems, and the arrest of suspects needs plenty of evidence, Liu said. The human and economic cost of the mission is huge.

Xu Yaotong suggests that better judicial cooperation with foreign counterparts would reduce the costs in both money and time.

The conclusion of the operation does not mean the end of China's global quest. In the future the police will try to improve efficiency, Liu said.

Preventing suspects from fleeing is more urgent than bringing them back, according to Zhang Huide, associate professor from the People's Public Security University.

Zhang called for authorities to plug entry-exit loopholes, and continue to improve passport management with a high-tech identification system to prevent officials from using fake identities.

Related:

China Voice: "Fox Hunt" dashes dreams of corrupt officials

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The six-month "Fox Hunt" campaign, tracking down big time crooks who fled abroad, shows China is now playing hardball with corrupt officials.  Full story

Xinhua Insight: China extends int'l judicial cooperation with more extradition treaties ratified

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- China approved two extradition treaties with Afghanistan and Iran on Sunday, making the number of such treaties ratified by China 36.  Full story

China's legislature ratifies extradition treaties, anti-terror convention

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- China approved two new extradition treaties and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Counter-Terrorism Convention at the top legislature's bimonthly session on Sunday.  Full story

Editor: Lu Hui
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