Last month, we wrote about the general demography of Chinese going abroad. Today let’s zoom in to take a look at a special group – the corrupted government officials. For decades, corrupted government officials in China have always had a Plan B for themselves and their families given the high occupational hazard – jail time. However that plan is becoming more and more difficult nowadays, since the new Politburo of the CCP comes into power with anti-corruption as one of their top priorities. In fact, a new round of anti-corruption operation has created quite a panic in the politic circle this year, and now it comes with a super cool code name "Operation Fox Hunting 2014".
According to this infographic from ifeng.com, the government has arrested 762 fled government officials and recovered 10.14 billion RMB in 2013. Although not all information of the absconders are disclosed due to sensitive reasons, there are nonetheless 51 absconders known to the public. Among these 51, 41% is corrupted government officials with high titles in the local governments; 37% is presidents of state-owned enterprises; and 22% works in financial sector such as 3 presidents heading the Kaiping branch of Bank of China.
And where are they fleeing to? According to the infographic, the most ideal 5-Star destination would be the US, since there is no extradition treaty between the US and China, absconders feel safe setting their nests there. The second most favored destination is Australia, whose immigration policy is very friendly: the highest threshold for investment immigration is just 5 million RMB (about 816,000 USD), highly affordable for the deep-pocketed absconders. Coming in third place are countries around China such as Thailand, Myanmar, Mongolia and Russia. These countries are often preferred by the lower rank government officials who might not have been able to grab too much during their term of service and thus cannot fly too far from the cuckoo nest. And the fourth most popular destinations are coastal countries such as New Zealand, pacific islands and some middle American countries.
To hunt down the foxes, you need to know their behavior. "Operation Fox Hunting 2014" certainly knows its game. There are 7 steps that corrupted government official take to flee the country:
- Transfer assets
- Relocate wife and kids overseas
- Prepare passport
- Cash in their power one last time
- Resign/leave without notice
- Hide in overseas settlement
- Obtain legal identity in overseas country
Among these 7 steps, the Operation considers the 3rd step as the most crucial opportunity to stop the fleeing in the act. Moreover, the China government has set up what it called "sky net" to catch the canning foxes:
- Signed Extradition treaty with 38 countries
- The police ministry is connected through 65 lines of 24 hr contact hotlines with 44 countries and regions
- Signed 106 various clauses regarding legal assistance with 68 countries and regions
- Signed criminal assistance treaty with 51 countries
- Signed anti-corruption cooperation agreement with over 80 countries and regions
It certainly looks like that China is stepping up its tactics in clamping down government corruption, on the one hand there is internal cleaning up inside the country, and on the other hand hunting down fleeing officials overseas. Still want to grab the money, and flee the country? Maybe not so fast.