China and the US have conducted in-depth discussions on the issue of anti-corruption at the Senior Officials' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and have expressed willingness to fight corruption together under the framework of a cooperative network, said Robert Wang, US Senior Official for APEC, at a press conference on Aug. 22 2014.
"Fighting corruption has always been high on APEC's agenda, but the amount of attention the issues has received this year surpasses every year in the past, and China has demonstrated leadership with regard to the issue," he said.
According to numbers released by China's central bank in 2011, corrupt Chinese officials who had fled the country had taken over 800 billion yuan (about $120 billion) overseas since the 1990s, presenting a huge challenge to the Chinese government in hunting the black sheep and retrieving the money.
In the recently concluded APEC Senior Officials' Meeting, relevant parties from the APEC Network of Anti-corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET) convened for the first time. Experts say the network, the establishment of which was propelled by anti-corruption agencies in China, Indonesia, the US, and others, will facilitate the work of Chinese law enforcement authorities in their anti-corruption campaign.
"Since China became a member of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2003, all our anti-corruption work has been carried out under the general framework of the Convention, which has been subject to certain constraints posed by international laws and treaties, making cross-border corruption cases difficult to solve," said Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Center of Anti-corruption Studies at Peking University.
"Meanwhile, in the past, most of our anti-corruption agreements had been signed with developing countries, whereas in reality corrupt officials are more likely to flee to developed countries. This poses another institutional obstacle to our fight," he added.
Zhuang believes the point of the Network is to "control the man and retain the money".
"Previously, some Western countries believed China would impose the death penalty on corrupt officials, and therefore China's requests for extradition were turned down on human rights grounds. With the Network in place, however, we can share information with other countries and will be able to limit personal freedom once we detect any act of flight or transfer of assets."
"Specifically, according to the Network, we can ask the US, for example, to provide us support ranging from freezing the assets of corrupt officials who have taken flight, and restricting their personal freedom, to offering legal assistance. All of this will serve as a powerful disincentive to those who hope to get away with their misdeeds by fleeing overseas," Zhuang concluded.
This article is edited and translated from 中国与亚太国家联手“海外反腐”, source: Beijing Youth Daily.