22 August 2019
President Xi Jinping waves to the audience before delivering a speech at the APEC CEO Summit in Beijing. Photo: AFP
President Xi Jinping waves to the audience before delivering a speech at the APEC CEO Summit in Beijing. Photo: AFP

APEC members to launch anti-corruption network

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies will establish a cross-border law enforcement network to strengthen transnational anti-corruption cooperation in the region, President Xi Jinping announced on Tuesday.

Leaders and representatives of the 21 APEC economies have reached consensus in hunting down fugitives, recovering their ill-gotten assets and expanding law enforcement cooperation, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Xi’s remarks at a press conference at the close of the two-day APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing.

Gao Bo, vice secretary general of Clean Government Studies Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the agreement showed that APEC leaders are willing to aside their political and ideological differences to clamp down on corruption.

The decision was reflected in an anti-corruption declaration adopted by the APEC Ministerial Meeting over the weekend.

In the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption, APEC members pledged to eliminate corruption through extradition and judicial assistance, and adopt more flexible measures to recover the proceeds of corruption within the laws of the APEC economies, the report said.

Li Chengyan, professor with Peking University, noted that there are many cases of corrupt officials from the region who flee overseas, especially to the United States, Canada and Australia which have not signed extradition treaties with China.

The declaration will speed up negotiations for such extradition treaties, Gao was quoted as saying.

A regular contact mechanism and a law enforcement cooperation mechanism will be built under the network to facilitate information sharing and build up trust, and to investigate corruption, bribery, money laundering and illegal trade crimes, the report said. It will also gather and share experiences in anti-graft areas through seminars and exchanges.

China’s top leadership is pursuing a massive anti-corruption campaign targeting both high-ranking “tigers” and lowly “flies”.

The country is also going after those who have fled abroad in an operation called Fox Hunt 2014, to “block the last route of retreat” for corrupt officials, Xinhua said.

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