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Procuratorates adapt in anti-corruption fight

Coordination key to tracking down fugitives and confiscating illegal gains

By YANG ZEKUN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-22 09:16

Procuratorial authorities have been adapting to the evolving needs of anti-corruption efforts, including the pursuit of fugitive officials and the recovery of their illicit assets, a senior prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Shi Weizhong, head of the third procuratorial office of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said that in response to the challenges of tracking down fugitives and confiscating their illegal gains, the top procuratorate, along with other departments, developed regulations for conducting trials in absentia, the confiscation of fugitives' illegal gains and standardizing the procedures for overseas investigations and evidence collection.

Shi emphasized the critical political and legal responsibilities that procuratorial authorities hold in combating corruption. He said that enhancing the quality and efficiency of handling job-related criminal cases is essential for strengthening the procuratorial role in anti-corruption efforts.

During the national prosecutors-general conference in January, a circular from the Supreme People's Procuratorate underlined the importance of active participation in anti-corruption activities and called for improved coordination between supervisory and procuratorial departments to ensure a more effective approach to case handling.

Shi said procuratorates have adopted a careful and prudent approach in dealing with anti-corruption cases, especially those involving the pursuit of fugitives and the recovery of illicit assets. That includes meticulous attention to trial processes, confiscation of illegal gains, and the gathering of evidence.

He called for cross-departmental cooperation and enhanced review and oversight of each step of investigation and prosecution to ensure the overall quality of case handling.

Last year, under the guidance of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Jiangmen procuratorate in Guangdong province processed the case of Xu Guojun, former head of the Kaiping branch of the Bank of China, who had been on the run for 20 years.

Xu, who fled the country in 2001 and was the subject of an Interpol red notice in 2002, was repatriated in 2021.

In December 2023, he received a life sentence for embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, was deprived of his political rights for life, and had all his personal assets confiscated.

"With the increase in major job-related crimes and the complexity of cases, ensuring the quality of case handling is the objective basis for reflecting on the effectiveness of anti-corruption work," Shi said.

"Procuratorial authorities should strengthen coordination and checks with supervisory organs and courts, solidify collected evidence and ensure accurate application of the law during proceedings."

Focusing on key areas prone to graft, Shi said prosecutors will seek to intensify punishment for the crime of offering bribes, and strengthen the recovery and correction of undue benefits obtained through bribery.

According to data from the Supreme People's Procuratorate, from January to November last year, there was an 18.1 percent year-on-year increase in the prosecution of individuals for offering bribes, totaling 2,306 people.

Shi also highlighted the commitment to addressing corruption in critical sectors such as finance, State-owned enterprises, energy, healthcare and infrastructure, through active collaboration and coordination with relevant departments to foster a united front against corruption.

"Based on general issues identified in case handling, procuratorates will issue suggestions to push forward the addressing of corruption issues in such sectors," he said.

Shi said the top procuratorate would continue to support lower-level procuratorates in resolving complex case-handling issues, analyzing case-handling characteristics and issues, and promoting the development of a procuratorial case database for job-related crimes to facilitate case management and provide guidance.


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