Canada will help China hunt fugitives

Updated: 2016-09-27 01:02

By ZHANG YAN in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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Canada will help China capture and return corrupt officials who are still at large in Canada, and recover their ill-gotten assets, according to Chinese authorities.

In a recent China-Canada high-level judicial cooperation meeting held in Beijing, the two sides agreed to start discussions on a bilateral extradition treaty, which will facilitate the return of corrupt Chinese officials who stole off to Canada to avoid punishment.

In addition, they will complete work related to the signing of an agreement on the sharing and return of forfeited assets.

They will also finalize negotiations on an MOU for a one-year pilot project in which Chinese experts will be invited to assist in identifying illegal Chinese immigrants who enter Canada fraudulently.

"The start of such a discussion is a positive signal, preparing for later formal negotiations on signing a bilateral extradition treaty, which is key to nabbing the fugitives,”said Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director-general of the judicial assistance and foreign affairs department of the Ministry of Justice.

"Only if the fugitives return and stand trial will we collect more clues and find evidence to further trace the illegal funds that they have sent abroad,” said Lei Hao, a senior official from the economic crimes investigation department of the Ministry of Public Security.

In recent years, the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore have become popular destinations for corrupt Chinese officials due to a lack of any signed bilateral extradition treaties and differences in laws, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Meanwhile, a large number of corrupt officials have transferred billions of yuan in illegal funds to their foreign accounts, either through money laundering or underground banks, the ministry said.

Since Last April, when Interpol issued red notices to hunt down 100 major corrupt Chinese officials fleeing overseas and confiscate their illegal proceeds, seven fugitives have been brought back from Canada to face trial, including Fang Cuiying, former senior manager from Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical Co, who was suspected of corruption and returned in January after spending four years on the run in Canada.

According to the top anti-graft watchdog, among the 100 key fugitives, 19 are still on the run in Canada and a top priority is to enhance communication and conduct sincere judicial cooperation with their counterparts in Canada.

Moreover, China will timely hold a law enforcement cooperation meeting with Canada to negotiate their concerns on hunting down the fugitives and discussing issues involving repatriation of illegal immigrants, while improving bilateral anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation mechanism.

Huang Feng, law professor from Beijing Normal University said, China and Canada don’t have major political and laws obstacles and they have set up a good foundation for cooperation, which will "help them to deeply communicate and exchange their views of signing an extradition treaty.”

But the practical challenge facing Chinese judicial authorities is lots of Chinese suspects have obtained green cards or permanent residence in Canada, so the first step is "to cooperate in fighting illegal Chinese immigrants, revoke their green cards in Canada, and repatriate them to China to face trial,” he added.