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China, US to boost cooperation on repatriating fugitives

Published:Tuesday | April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMBEIJING, (AP):
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks with Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee Vice-Chair Terry McAuliffe, during the recent committee’s session on cybersecurity.

China and the United States are boosting cooperation in sending home crime suspects amid a Chinese drive to ferret out corrupt officials and fugitives who have fled abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security said the sides agreed to streamline the process for identifying and returning fugitives, along with those who have overstayed their visas or entered the US illegally.

The agreement came during Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson's visit to Beijing last week, during which a range of law-enforcement issues were discussed, including counter terrorism and cybersecurity.

A department news release on the weekend said the sides would share more information on repatriation and fugitive cases and provide regular updates. China also agreed to expedite the return of the more than 39,000 Chinese citizens currently in the United States who are at some stage in the process of being deported.

"The two participants further acknowledged that neither country should serve as a safe haven for fugitives," the news release said.

China and the US have no extradition treaty, although wanted persons can be prosecuted in the country to which they fled or be expelled for immigration violations. Their assets can also be seized if determined to have been illegally acquired, leaving them little option but to return home.

While China has expressed interest in a treaty, the US said that is being blocked by Beijing's failure to agree to extradite Chinese citizens accused of crimes in the US.