China returns corruption suspect from Britain

by Reuters
Thursday, 14 January 2016 03:53 GMT

BEIJING, Jan 14 (Reuters) - China has secured the return of a top corruption suspect from Britain, China's anti-corruption watchdog said on Thursday, the latest person from a list of 100 overseas fugitives repatriated amid an ongoing graft crackdown.

The government last year unveiled an initiative called "Sky Net" to better coordinate its fight to return corrupt officials, and published the list of suspects subject to an Interpol "red notice" - the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant.

Chen Yijuan, a Communist Party member and former employee at a subsidiary of state-run China Mobile who fled to Britain in 2013, returned to China and surrendered, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in an online statement.

"Under threat of legal action and policy pressure, Chen Yijuan ultimately chose to return to China on her own accord and surrender to authorities," the statement said.

Chen, in her mid-40s, is suspected of laundering money, the watchdog said, but it did not give further details.

She was the first Sky Net suspect from the southern province of Hunan to be returned and the twentieth from the list of 100 fugitives China has secured.

The operation is part of a campaign to stamp out pervasive corruption in the government and party initiated by President Xi Jinping after he assumed power about three years ago.

In total, China says more than 800 suspected corrupt officials have been returned home.

Beijing's efforts have long been hampered by Western nations that balk at signing extradition deals, partly out of concern about China's judicial system.

Rights groups say China uses torture and the death penalty is common in corruption cases. Last week, a U.N. rights watchdog said torture remained rife in China.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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