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Overseas fugitive hunt streamlined

Updated: 2015-04-13 07:33
By Su Zhou and Zhang Yan (China Daily)

China and the United States say they will cooperate to track down and repatriate Chinese fugitives who are at large in the US and who are responsible sending billions of yuan there illegally.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited Beijing on Thursday and Friday to discuss issues of shared concern with high-ranking officials, including the ministers of public security, cyberspace and customs.

The result of last week's visit was fruitful, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security. China and the US will work closely on tracking down and repatriating Chinese fugitives by enhancing intelligence sharing, strengthening judicial cooperation and exchanging updates of important cases regularly, the statement said.

"Neither China nor the US will provide asylum for fugitives," it said. "The US and China will work hard to repatriate Chinese fugitives within the framework of each country's laws."

The website of the US Department of Homeland Security also said the two countries agreed to a more streamlined process to repatriate Chinese nationals through removal orders, while the applications by Chinese individuals for protection in the US will continue to be handled in accordance with US laws and values.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and China's Ministry of Public Security will work closely to verify the identities of Chinese nationals requiring travel documents and will ensure that regular charter flights are scheduled to facilitate repatriation.

"This is focused on illegal immigrants, not aimed specifically at fugitives or corrupt officials," said one official from the ministry who asked not to be identified. "But it also laid a solid foundation for joint efforts by China and the US to track down and repatriate them."

Since November 2012, when the new leadership was elected, anti-corruption has become a top priority for the country. President Xi Jinping has vowed to use strong measures to fight corruption among high-ranking "tigers" as well as low-level "flies".

In recent years, a large number of corrupt officials have fled to the US, Canada and Australia to avoid punishment, transferring their ill-gotten gains. China has sought to cooperate with other countries on the issue.

According to the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, a priority list of corrupt officials was provided to the US, Canada and Australia, along with a request for their assistance in seizing the individuals and assets.

Overseas fugitive hunt streamlined

Figures provided by the Supreme People's Procuratorate in March showed that since last October, prosecuting departments have brought back 49 suspects with duty-related crimes from 17 countries and regions.

Dai Peng, director of the Criminal Investigation College at People's Public Security University, said the visit of Johnson, the US secretary, revealed a positive attitude from the US side.

"China and the US have achieved a lot in the past. However, we are still facing practical difficulties in repatriating fugitives because of legal obstacles and different legal procedures," Dai said. "The visit of Secretary Johnson consolidated the efforts and has borne fruit. It also shows a helpful US attitude. I believe more cooperation and progress can be expected in the future."

Contact the writer at suzhou@chinadaily.com.cn


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