Nations attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing have agreed to cooperate on the extradition of corrupt officials, a move backed by the U.S. and pushed by China, which has been on a drive to clean up bribery and money laundering in its Communist Party.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who is attending the 21-member APEC meeting, described the agreement as “a major step forward.”
Kerry said: “Corruption not only creates an unfair playing field, it not only distorts economic relationships, but corruption also steals from the people … who believe the system can work for everyone.”
Reuters says the informal network would share information among anti-corruption and law enforcement authorities in the region: “The agreement commits the … member economies in the Asia-Pacific region, including China and the United States, to “deny safe haven to those engaged in corruption, including through extradition, mutual legal assistance and the recovery and return of proceeds of corruption.”
As NPR’s Frank Langfitt reported earlier this week, gambling revenues in the Chinese gambling mecca of Macau are down some 20 percent since Beijing’s corruption crackdown. Mainland “whales” are scared to be seen placing large bets for fear they might become a target and some are moving their gambling activities elsewhere in Asia, Frank reports. This year alone, more than 13,000 Chinese officials have been found guilty of corruption and bribery, the BBC says.
Also, the BBC notes, it’s not clear how the agreement — known as the Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET) — would work because the U.S., Canada and Australia, which all signed on, don’t have extradition treaties with China.