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Is an extradition treaty with China on the agenda?

China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying (Image courtesy of the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs)Chinese and U.S. officials will meet in August to discuss further cooperation in tracking down corrupt Chinese fugitives who fled with illicit gains.

Officials from both countries attended the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET) Meeting in the Philippines last month. The network was initiated by China as part of its campaign to fight cross-border corruption.

In the coming August meeting, law enforcement officials from both countries plan to discuss specific cases and possible joint investigations into Chinese fugitives and stolen assets, according to David Luna, an official the U.S. State Department. They will also discuss potential ways to repatriate Chinese fugitives.

Luna added that there are ongoing cases of returning stolen assets to China.

When asked if an extradition treaty will be signed between the two countries, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the U.S. had supported China’s anti-corruption proposal at the APEC meeting in Beijing last year, and the two countries will explore alternative ways to repatriate Chinese fugitives.

In December last year, China requested the U.S. to help track down more than 100 corruption suspects believed to be hiding in the country.

The U.S., Canada and Australia have not signed extradition treaties with China due to concerns about China’s death penalty for officials convicted of corruption.

In 2000, the U.S. and China signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (available here in pdf). It’s still in force.

The assistance includes serving documents, taking testimony or statements, providing original documents and certified copies for evidence, helping with asset seizures and forfeiture requests, and “transferring persons in custody for giving evidence or assisting in investigations,” if “not contrary to the laws” of the requested party.

Sources: Reuters, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC (外交部)


Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.

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