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China claims wins in returning fugitives, funds from abroad

AP  |  Beijing 

More than 1,000 Chinese fugitives who fled abroad were returned to the country last year and more than USD 519 million in ill-gotten gains was recovered, the ruling said Friday, in what it is seen as a further victory in Xi Jinping's years-long drive against corruption.

The party's anti-corruption watchdog said among the 1,335 returned were 307 party members or government employees, including five on a list of 100 most-wanted Chinese corruption suspects handed over to

They include: Xu Chaofan, the former of the Bank of in the southern province of suspected of embezzling USD 485 million who fled to the 17 years ago; and Yao Jinqi, a former who was extradited from Bulgaria, becoming the first fugitive sent home from a country.

says its four-year-old campaign to return white collar criminals and recover assets has captured more than 5,000 fugitives in all.

The operation known as "Sky Net" marked an extension of the anti-corruption drive Xi launched shortly after taking power more than eight years ago.

The campaign is largely popular and has helped make Xi China's most in decades. Critics say it has also been used to remove challenges to Xi's authority and undermines the rule of law since it is spearheaded by the Communist Party, rather than the government.

Domestically, 621,000 people received punishments for corruption last year, including 51 officials at or above the provincial and ministerial level, according to the party watchdog body, the

Along with detaining suspects and seizing assets, graft-busters have also taken extreme measures such as demolishing 1,000 luxury villas built illegally in northern China's Qingling mountains, according to a recent documentary shown on state television.

A weekend conference is expected to set out new anti-corruption priorities for the coming year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 18:15 IST