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China media urges US ‘sincerity’ over escaped officials

August 17, 2015

Chinese state media on Monday urged the United States to show more “sincerity” towards Beijing’s moves to track down its corrupt officials overseas, saying the US should not become a safe haven for criminal suspects.

The New York Times had reported that Washington has warned Beijing about Chinese agents it says are operating secretly on its soil to pressure fugitives wanted for corruption and other misdeeds to return to China.

Citing unnamed US officials, the Times said Sunday that the agents, working undercover for China’s Ministry of Public Security as part of a global manhunt Beijing dubs Operation Fox Hunt, were probably entering the country on tourism or trade visas.

But China’s official news agency Xinhua described them as Chinese law enforcement and said they had been ordered by the United States to return home immediately.

“The US government’s decision to force China’s law enforcement staff to leave the country obviously reveals that Washington lacks sincerity and has failed to translate its words into action,” Xinhua said in a commentary.

The two countries had already agreed to increase cooperation over anti-graft efforts, it added.

“Therefore, the United States, as a country that often stresses the rule of law, should clarify the issue and by no means become a safe haven for Chinese criminal suspects,” it said.

In recent weeks, the US State Department issued the warning to Chinese officials demanding a halt to undercover activities, the Times reported.

The US warning comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington next month.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.