Xinhua News Agency

Fugitives offered official amnesty

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am

Fugitives who turn themselves in to police or other relevant authorities by December 1 will be granted leniency, according to a state media report published on the website of the Supreme People's Court.

A joint statement is expected to be officially released in the coming weeks by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice, according to the report by Xinhua.

The order will be handed down to all judiciary levels on the mainland, encouraging fugitives to turn themselves in at local police stations, prisons or even grass-roots units in towns and counties by December 1, with misdemeanour offenders being exempt from punishment, Xinhua said.

The notice said fugitives could entrust relatives and friends to help in their surrender, that they may also call authorities or send them letters of confession before surrendering and that those who turn in accomplices in crimes will also be granted leniency.It stressed that fugitives who failed to surrender before the deadline would receive severe punishments, while people found to be harbouring criminals would also be punished.

The four legal watchdogs are calling on the public to support the campaign, with officials vowing to protect informants while punishing those who take revenge on them.

When the order is made official, it is intended for it to be widely circulated through mainland media outlets, online and by text message.

It remains unclear whether fugitives who have fled overseas would be granted leniency after voluntary repatriation.

Spokesmen for the departments could not be reached for comment.

Wang Liming, an anti-corruption official with the Supreme People's Procuratorate, was quoted by the China Youth Daily last year as saying that fewer than 200 corrupt officials were on the run. However, mainland media reports earlier this year said the figure could range from 4,000 to more than 10,000, and that they had escaped with hundreds of billions of yuan of taxpayers' money.

Most of the corrupt officials are believed to be in the United States, Canada and other western countries.