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25 Aug, 2014

China teams up with APEC members in anti-graft fight

Beijing, (chinadaily.com.cn), 2014-08-25 – Anti-graft issue has gained more attention at this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings than the previous sessions as China strengthens cooperation with APEC members, including the US, in the fight against corruption, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

International cooperation on anti-graft was upgraded when the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET) convened its first meeting earlier this month.

The ACT-NET, initiated by China together with other APEC members such as the US and Indonesia, is designed to facilitate APEC members’ cooperation, experience sharing and capability building in chasing fugitive officials and recovering ill-gotten money.

In addition to the first meeting of ACT-NET, anti-graft issue has featured in a string of APEC conferences this year, such as the 19th meeting of APEC anti-corruption panel and the APEC high-level seminar on anti-corruption.

According to data released in 2011 by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, more than 800 billion yuan ($130 billion) has been transferred overseas by corrupt government officials and senior executives in State-owned enterprises fleeing the country since the 1990s.

To bring the fugitive officials to justice and deter other corrupt elements from escaping the country, China has signed extradition treaty with 38 countries and sealed cooperation agreement in judicial assistance with 51 countries by the end of July.

“Corruption is a global issue which requires cross-border cooperation. All countries should join hands in the fight against graft despite the differences in political ideology,” said Zhuang Deshui, a professor at the research center of clean government construction, Peking University.

“Previously, China’s anti-corruption efforts were focused on cooperation with other developing countries whereas developed countries were the corrupt officials’ first choice when escaping. The ACT-NET will hopefully block the run-away route of Chinese corrupt officials and facilitate China’s retrieving assets moved out of the country,” Zhuang said.

China stepped up its crackdown on fugitive officials this year.

In March, the nation’s top discipline watchdog initiated the International Cooperation Bureau in place of the former Bureau of Corruption Prevention to strengthen links with other countries in the fight against graft.

In July, the Ministry of Public Security launched an operation dubbed Fox Hunt 2014 in a bid to capture the suspects of economic crimes who have fled abroad.

Also in July, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate revealed plans to set up a panel to trace officials on the run and retrieve illegal gains they had transferred overseas and to establish a database of fugitive officials.