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January 11, 2010

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'Runaway' corruption targeted

CHINA has established a coordinated system to prevent corrupt officials from fleeing the country.

Authorities estimate that about 4,000 officials from across China fled overseas over the past 30 years and took with them more than US$50 billion obtained illegally.

Seventeen government and Communist Party of China departments have joined to liaise in fighting graft, including the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the People's Bank of China, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the National Development and Reform Commission and the ministries of Finance, Public Security, Justice and Foreign Affairs.

"To establish a complete punishment and prevention system against corruption plays an important role in building a clean governance," said Li Yufu, deputy secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

"It is based on the experience gained in fighting corruption over the years."

Officials targeted in corruption investigations have often fled to the United States, Canada or other Western countries after they transferred money overseas to avoid punishment.

China has sought approval of extradition orders and tried to talk offenders into returning home but these measures have proven unsatisfactory.

"Cooperation between departments is very important to tackle these illegal activities," Chongqing Morning Post quoted Hu Xingdou, an expert in tracking China's official corruption problems for many years, as saying.

"For instance, the country's anti-money-laundering institution can alert other departments to take action before officials flee if the institution detects an abnormal amount of capital flow."

A total of 106,626 officials were penalized for disciplinary violations from January to November last year.

Nearly 14,000 commercial corruption cases were under investigation during the period, among which about 21 percent involved civil servants, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reported last week.


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