BEIJING: The Chinese government is in advanced talks with the United States (US) on repatriating five of China’s most wanted corruption suspects and will hand over whatever evidence is needed by its US counterparts, the state-run China Daily said on Wednesday.
In April, China published a list of 100 of its most wanted corruption suspects who have been targeted with an Interpol red notice, many living in the US, Canada and Australia. About 18 have been recovered so far this year.
China’s efforts have long been hampered by Western nations that balk at signing extradition deals, partly out of concern about its judicial system.
Rights groups say Chinese authorities use torture and the death penalty is common in corruption cases.
This month, a United Nations (UN) rights watchdog said torture remained rife in China.
China is currently seeking US judicial help in repatriating the five, four of whom are still at large, to face trial in China, the official China Daily quoted an unnamed official with the graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection as saying.
“We are negotiating with our US counterparts on the five major corrupt fugitives, including Yang Xiuzhu, who is suspected of illegal immigration and is in custody awaiting deportation proceedings,” said the official.
“And we have decided to conduct joint investigations of the major cases.”
Yang has filed for asylum in the US. The report did not name the other four suspects.
The official said the US had asked China to provide more evidence to help with their investigation, the official said.
“We are in advanced negotiations with US judicial authorities on the five major cases, including Yang’s, and will exchange information in a timely manner and offer necessary evidence to the US judicial authorities for further investigation,” he added, without providing details.
Reuters has found that some of China’s most wanted are living openly in the US and Canada.
Last week, a top Chinese anti-graft official said corruption suspects who have fled abroad have been abusing legal systems of host countries to prolong their cases in what is a big challenge to China’s efforts to get them back.