China’s massive anti-corruption campaign has launched a new program, Sky Net, with the intention of reigning in suspects who have fled abroad.
Thousands of people, including over 70 high ranking officials, have been prosecuted in the campaign, which began with Xi Jinping’s rise to the head of the Communist Party of China. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and its leader Wang Qishan have been at the forefront of the popular operation, which turned international last year with its “Fox Hunt” of state fugitives. 680 in total were apprehended in the second half of 2014, and more are expected in 2015 with Sky Net.
A major hurdle in the fight is the fact that popular destinations for these corrupt officials include countries such as the US and UK, which have no formal extradition treaty with China. Nonetheless, a list of 150 priority targets have been given to the American government in the hope that the two countries will cooperate in this matter. Additionally, the UK has been asked for assistance in repatriating another 50 expected to be hiding in that country.
The anti-corruption campaign is pushing on for far longer than originally expected, with two suspects being returned to China from Laos over the weekend, while details of former vice-minister of state security Ma Jian’s extravagant lifestyle were released to the public. It is seen as widely popular among the Chinese public, who have been suffering under corrupt politicians for years. However, it can also be suggested that Xi and Wang are targeting members of the previous ruling party, in an effort to maximize their power.
In either case, the result is a lack of opposition, so it’ll continue well into the foreseeable future.