China appreciates US move to extradite Chinese fugitive

China on Saturday appreciated the US move to repatriate Beijing's most wanted fugitive to stand trial in corruption cases ahead of next week's visit of President Xi Jinping to Washington.

Beijing: China on Saturday appreciated the US move to repatriate Beijing's most wanted fugitive to stand trial in corruption cases ahead of next week's visit of President Xi Jinping to Washington.

Yang Yinjun, 57, who is suspected of bribery and corruption and fled to the US in 2001, was listed as a wanted person by the Chinese government this year.

He was charged on his return to China yesterday.

Yang was on a list of 100 most-wanted Chinese fugitives abroad released by China in April.

He was repatriated through "close cooperation" between the judicial, law enforcement and foreign affairs authorities of China and the US, the ruling-Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement yesterday.

"China appreciates the US cooperation in this [investigation]," spokesperson Hong Lei was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

Yang, suspected of corruption and bribery, is the first of the 100 persons on the "red notice" to be repatriated to China from the US, since China's "Sky Net" operation was launched in April.

The Sky Net anti-graft operation named 100 economic crime suspects who were evading arrest by hiding abroad.

Yang is suspected of embezzlement and bribery.

Yang's repatriation marks major progress in Sino-US law enforcement cooperation, according to the statement.

"The Chinese government once again warns suspects at large overseas to have a clear understanding of the situation and voluntarily surrender as soon as possible for a chance of leniency," it said.

There is no extradition treaty between China and the US and very few fugitives have been returned to China because of US concerns over their treatment on their return, making it a top destination for Chinese corrupt officials.

"The return of Yang Jinjun to China marks important progress in this area for both countries and creates a good basis for further cooperation," Hong said.  

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