6 November 2014
At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings now held in China, an anti-corruption statement has been proposed by China. It is well known that President Xi Jinping is running a crusade against corruption. Hence it is not surprising that this proposal has been put forward by China. The proposal is fully endorsed by the United States which is also a member of the APEC. An information-sharing network, known as Act-Net, will be set up in China to enable the law enforcement agencies in the member countries to share information about corruption crimes. The network will use extradition, mutual legal assistance, and the recovery and return of proceeds of corruption as the means to tackle graft across borders.
There is a perception among Western countries that China uses torture to extract confessions and then meet out capital punishment for crimes including corruption. Because of this perception they have not been forthcoming in having extradition treaties with China. Most popular destinations for corruption criminals are United States, Canada and Australia. These countries do not have extradition treaty with China and also give entry easily to the fugitives.
China has the initial mandate to host Act-Net up to 2015. It is not clear what will happen to the Act-Net thereafter. It is also not clear whether the member countries will be forthcoming in sharing their information on corruption. It is also not clear whether the law enforcement agencies of the member countries will make use of the information in the Act-Net.