The communist party’s anti-corruption watchdog – the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) – has vowed, once again, to hunt corrupt officials who flee the country and to scrutinize “naked officials” in a drive to crack down on top-level corruption.
“Naked officials” have spouses or children who have emigrated overseas. The officials then siphon government funds or graft money and send it to these overseas family members, and often eventually leave the country as well.
During the third plenary session of the CCDI on January 13, secretary Wang Qishan talked about international cooperation in capturing corrupt officials who flee abroad.
Top prosecutor Cao Jianming said a total of 6,694 fleeing corrupt officials were arrested between 2009 and 2013. According to Caijing magazine, fleeing officials took away with them an estimated 4.8 million yuan ($792,000) each in 2012.
Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily published allegations accusing a majority of China’s 2013 National People’s Congress of being “naked officials.”
President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption may have encouraged business tycoons and party figures to migrate, with the United States, Canada and Australia, being favored destinations.
As of May 2013, China signed extradition treaties with 36 countries to repatriate corrupt officials.
China and Canada are currently in the process of signing an agreement under which Canada will return illicit assets transferred by Chinese fugitives.
The party also issued a ban in January on promotions for “naked officials.”
“They belong to a high-risk group for corruption,” a party official said, “around 40 percent of economic cases and nearly 80 percent of corruption and embezzlement cases involve naked officials.”
Ji Zhengju, an anti-graft expert, said “China will take steps to innovate and improve the system of searching for the wanted corrupt officials this year.”
Sources: Xinhua News (新华网), Global Post, Ta Kung Pao (大公报)
Hui Zhi is a Senior China Analyst with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.