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G20 summit highlights China¡¯s role as reformer in global anti-graft cooperation
   2016-08-19 14:48:42    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Liang Tao

By Chen Chenchen

Global spotlight is now on China, host of this year G20 summit that will kick off soon in early September. One of the 10 results that China is trying to achieve, together with various parties, is to initiate a three-pronged approach to international anticorruption cooperation. This, if realized, would mean a golden opportunity for China to participate in the top-level design of global anti-graft governance.

Specifically, this three-pronged approach, as revealed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in May, means to work out high-level principles on international fugitive repatriation and asset recovery, to launch a research center on fugitives and stolen assets, and to draw up a 2017-18 anti-corruption action plan.

China is witnessing transformation of its role in international anti-corruption cooperation ¨C from a participant to reformer. The nation is seeing a golden period of strategic opportunity in boosting international anti-graft cooperation. There are two main reasons.

One the one hand, China¡¯s proposal of three-in-one cooperation fits the global trend. In 2014, the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption was adopted by APEC members, which indicated the establishment of a grand platform for chasing down fugitives and stolen assets. In the same year, G20 leaders adopted the 2015-16 anti-corruption action plan in Brisbane, pledging to consolidate mutual legal assistance. In such paperwork, country leaders¡¯ determination to combat corruption through international cooperation has been stressed.

Nonetheless in reality, there is still huge potential for pragmatic international cooperation in preventing and punishing corruption crime. Without such pragmatic anti-graft cooperation in place, global economic governance would be hampered too. For instance, illegal donations by multinational business giants and dirty transactions through offshore financial operations pose severe threats to the world¡¯s political and economic orders.

China¡¯s thinking of establishing a three-in-one anti-corruption pattern, featuring principle, institutionalization and action, well targets the blank in global cooperation. In Wang¡¯s words, ¡°We will let those who are involved in corruption have nowhere to hide or escape in G20 member countries.¡±

On the other hand, China¡¯s domestic scene of fighting corruption also explains why China is witnessing a period of strategic opportunity in boosting international anti-graft cooperation. One prerequisite to promote international anti-graft cooperation is that a country itself should have sound domestic anti-corruption mechanisms in the first place. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has been making efforts to improve domestic legal mechanisms, and this provides basis for institutionalizing bilateral or multilateral anti-graft cooperation.

More details are yet to be provided about China¡¯s three-pronged approach in fighting corruption. Considering difficulties in anti-corruption diplomacy facing various countries, there are several things that China can do within the framework of G20.

First, China could promote international cooperation on corruption punishment. On the basis of further improving domestic laws, Beijing should promote bilateral or multilateral judicial assistance and signing of extradition treaties with other countries.

Certain experiences have been accumulated in terms of chasing down stolen assets in previous trans-national cases. These cooperation mechanisms should be normalized. During this process, China could also make better use of international treaties and diplomatic channels to win more cooperation partners.

Second, China could use G20 platform to boost cooperation in terms of guarding against potential corruption. Efficient and secure channels for information sharing should be explored. For instance, regular workshops of experience sharing on guarding against and striking cooperation should be launched, and mechanisms of intelligence exchange on transnational corruption crime should be set up.

As a developing country itself, China is able to stand in the shoes of other developing countries, and could proactively provide suggestions for revising related international conventions. With its rising influence in global arena, China could contribute more to international anti-graft cooperation.

Third, China could do more in enhancing international cooperation on promoting clean governance.

It¡¯s already become a consensus in international community that preventing and tackling corruption at its sources would be the most effective method, and clean governance building is a key link in the systematic project of combating corruption. Throughout these years, one key emphasis of China¡¯s domestic move is to foster the culture of clean governance, which provides the ultimate guarantee to its anti-graft endeavors. As the nation increasingly stresses clean governance at home, it could set the ambitious goal of striving to become a global fugleman in clean governance.

International anti-corruption cooperation is still in its initial stage. In order to shape long-term, sustainable mechanisms, tons of conflicts should be overcome due to disparities between different countries in their political, economic and legal systems. Many observers believe the only way out would be to improve international framework on tackling corruption, and fostering of culture of clean governance. On the platform of G20, China has much to do in both regards.

The author is a research fellow with Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

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