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People's Daily Online

Sky Net: China's overseas anti-corruption campaign 2.0

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 19:48, March 27, 2015

BEIJING, March 27 -- According to a Chinese saying, the guilty can never escape the net of heaven's justice. The proverb is behind the name of China's latest anti-corruption campaign, 'Sky Net,' launched this week.

Following last year's 'Fox Hunt 2014,' which targeted corrupt officials and suspected economic criminals who have fled the country, an upgraded campaign codenamed 'Sky Net' was launched on Thursday, bringing more government departments on board, including not only party organs and law enforcement agencies, but also the central bank and diplomatic services.

The Ministry of Public Security, which directly carried out 'Fox Hunt 2014,' will continue to focus on detaining fugitive suspects implicated in corruption cases. The Supreme People's Procuratorate will deal with those suspected of duty-related crimes while the People's Bank of China, the central bank, will target illegal private banks and offshore accounts. The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee will tighten its checks of party cadres' travel documents to prevent them from going abroad and never returning.

The move closes a loophole in China's anti-corruption drive, which in the past mainly targeted domestic corruption and left out those who have fled the country.

Wang Yukai from the Chinese Academy of Governance said the campaign will target both corrupt officials and the more difficult part -- their ill-gotten wealth -- with the help of financial regulators. 'It's a sign that China's anti-corruption effort has comprehensively expanded its reach overseas.'

Chinese President Xi Jinpinghas warned that corruption threatens the survival of the party and vowed to ratchet up anti-corruption efforts in repatriating fugitives and recovering assets.

However, because many of the top destinations for China's runaway officials -- including the United States, Canada and Australia -- have not signed extradition treaties with China, graft-busters' hands were tied in bringing them to justice.

The absence of an extradition treaty has not hampered the United States and China from making progress in anti-corruption cooperation, said Li Guofu from the China Institute of International Studies.

China has secured commitment from the United States in investigating and prosecuting cases related to corruption allegations. In fact, a U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles indicted a former Chinese official on money laundering charges based on evidence provided by Chinese prosecutors.

China's top graft-buster Wang Qishansaid China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Russiato fight corruption while meeting with a Russian delegation on Wednesday.

Wang Yukai predicted that more fugitive officials will feel unsafe due to the 'shock and awe' of the overseas anti-corruption effort. Those who have entertained the idea of moving their assets overseas will have to think twice, said Wang.

From July to December, 'Fox Hunt 2014' successfully resulted in the detention and surrender of 680 fugitives, and even more are expected to be trapped by 'Sky Net' this year.

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