World Economy

China says US backs ‘economic fugitives’ campaign

The flags of the U.S. and China.
Holger Gogolin | iStock | Getty Images

The United States has promised support for China's campaign to hunt corrupt officials fleeing abroad, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Friday, after meetings between security officials from the world's two largest economies.

Talks this week between Chinese domestic security leaders Meng Jianzhu and Guo Shengkun, and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson also touched on counter-terrorism, intellectual property rights, maritime law enforcement and cybersecurity issues, Xinhua said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security could not be immediately reached for comment, but issued a statement on its website.

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"Secretary Johnson and Minister Guo agreed to a more streamlined process to repatriate Chinese nationals with final orders of removal, while applications for protection will continue to be handled in accordance with U.S. law and American values," the statement said.

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The two also agreed to increase information sharing on "foreign terrorist fighters through international databases".

Guo said the two sides should seek cooperation in law-enforcement, and that both sides agreed they would not provide refuge to fugitives, Xinhua reported.

Chinese public security authorities said the United States supported Chinese programmes dubbed "Sky Net" and "Operation Fox Hunt," which are meant to coordinate a campaign to track down suspected corrupt officials who have fled overseas and to recover their assets.

The Chinese government has given the United States a priority list of Chinese officials suspected of corruption and who are believed to have fled there, state media has reported.

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Chinese officials have said more than 150 "economic fugitives" including corrupt government officials are in the United States.

China's anti-corruption watchdog said last month that more than 500 suspects were repatriated to China last year, along with more than 3 billion yuan ($484.32 million).

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he aims to track down corrupt officials across sectors in a far-reaching campaign against graft.