China’s online appeal for informants on corruption suspects living abroad

Website launched to enlist the help of the masses, along with ‘wanted’ list containing details of suspects and their whereabouts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 1:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 10:24pm

The Chinese government has said it has launched a website to encourage people to offer information on 50 corruption suspects who have fled overseas, even providing information about the streets on which they live in foreign countries.

It continues President Xi Jinping’s years-long war on political corruption, which he has promised to quash at all levels.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country’s corruption watchdog, took the fight overseas in 2015 by releasing a list of the 100 most-wanted fugitives that it has sought to return through operations named “fox hunt” and “sky net”.

Beijing has struggled, however, to enlist help from Western countries in its efforts to return corruption suspects. Many nations have been reluctant to sign an extradition treaty with China, citing its poor rights record and opaque criminal prosecution process.

For the second time in the space of a year, the commission released a “wanted” list, which has more than doubled to 50 names compared with 22 a year ago.

It includes 23 people identified as suspects likely to have fled to the United States. Other countries included were Canada and New Zealand.

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Most of the people named were linked to corruption, bribery or embezzlement, and 21 were said to have been on the run for more than a decade.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the commission supplied photographs and names of suspects, along with English and Chinese street names, as well as bilingual descriptions of their alleged crimes.

The new website (http://www.12388.gov.cn/ztzz/) soliciting public tips, however, was available only in Chinese.

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“The aim of this new announcement is to closely rely on the masses and actively mobilise them,” the commission statement said.

Of the 22 suspects whose names were released last year, six have so far given themselves up, according to the commission, which added that China had captured 4,141 fugitives from more than 90 countries and regions and recovered nearly 10 billion yuan (US$1.56 billion) by the end of April.