BEIJING – In a major boost for its domestic anti-graft campaign, China has received the backing of all 21 APEC members to return to China thousands of corrupt officials who have fled abroad.
The anti-graft law will cover officials guilty of bribery, money laundering and illegal trade. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) disciplinary watchdog announced that the network will consist of law enforcement personnel from each APEC member. According to a report from Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency, it will include liaison personnel, a chairman and a secretariat.
The report further added that the network will establish a regular contact mechanism to facilitate information sharing and will build up trust among anti-corruption and law enforcement authorities in the region. It will also gather and share experiences in anti-graft areas through seminars and exchanges, and its Chinese liaison personnel will be drawn from various disciplinary, judicial, procuratorate, public security and bank regulating authorities.
The scope of the anti-graft campaign is huge. According to official Chinese estimates, approximately 18,000 corrupt officials have fled China between 1990 and 2008 with government money in excess of US $123 billion. There is therefore a direct correlation between the campaign and the Chinese economy. Indeed, earlier this year, Chinese Premier Le Keqiang stated that a key part of China’s economic reform process will hinge on its ability to not only tackle past cases of corruption and recover some of the vast amounts of money lost, but also on preventing future cases of corruption.
The current anti-graft campaign has already seen the arrest of numerous retired officials and Generals. Support from APEC will almost certainly help, as many such officials and Generals are believed to have settled in countries like Australia and the U.S since fleeing China. Moreover, collaboration over the matter will serve to bolster ties and promote cooperation between China and APEC’s members, possibly paving the way for stronger economic links.
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