June 7, 2018 / 1:32 AM / 10 months ago

China calls for public's help to catch overseas graft suspects

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government said it has launched a new website to encourage people to offer information on 50 corruption suspects who have fled overseas, even providing information about the streets on which they live in English as well as Chinese.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a multi-year war on graft, promising to quash deep-seated corruption at all levels of the party.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection took the fight overseas in 2015 by releasing a list of the 100 most- wanted fugitives that it has since sought to return through operations called “fox hunt” and “sky net”.

Beijing has struggled to enlist Western countries in its efforts to return corruption suspects. Many have proved reluctant to sign an extradition treaty with China, pointing to its poor rights record and opaque criminal prosecution process.

For the second time in the space of a year, the commission released a list of names of people it is seeking - 50 this time compared with 22 a year ago - of whom 23 it says are likely to have fled to the United States.

Other countries include Canada and New Zealand. The majority are suspected of corruption, bribery or embezzlement, and 21 of the 50 have been on the run for more than a decade.

The commission provided English as well as Chinese descriptions of their suspected crimes and where they might be living, as well as showing their pictures, in a statement released late on Wednesday.

Those who have information about them can report on a new website (www.12388.gov.cn/ztzz), although that is only available in Chinese.

“The aim of this new announcement is to closely rely on the masses and actively mobilise them,” the commission said.

Of the 22 suspects whose names it released last year, six have so far given themselves up, it said.

China had captured 4,141 fugitives from more than 90 countries and regions and recovered nearly 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) by the end of April, the commission said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard

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