A former senior Chinese official, who went into hiding after being sought by anti-corruption investigators, has applied for asylum in the United States, Reuters reported Thursday, citing state media.
Yang Xiuzhu, a former deputy mayor of Wenzhou in the booming eastern province of Zhejiang, was taken into custody in the US last month pending her removal to China.
Yang, at the top of a Chinese list of 100 suspected corrupt people believed to be abroad and subject to an Interpol “red notice”, made the asylum application in a New York court, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Xinhua said its reporter saw Yang dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, with her hair cut short and a “puffy” face.
The case comes as China pushes for talks with the US on an extradition treaty, which would be a big boost for China’s anti-corruption campaign.
Yang first fled to Singapore in 2003 before changing her name and flying to New York.
She was eventually detained in Amsterdam in 2005, where China was not able to gain custody of her, despite protracted negotiations with the Netherlands. China also doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the Netherlands.
Western countries have balked at signing extradition deals with China, partly out of concern about the integrity of its judicial system and treatment of prisoners, Reuters said.
– Contact us at [email protected]