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China steps up to the plate on international anti-corruption

Sceptics, suspend your disbelief. At least for month.

China, with all its corruption challenges, appears to be deadly serious about championing a new international anti-corruption cooperative. This comes from a Chinese high authority, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, no less.

Of course, corruption is a global scourge, siphoning off trillions of dollar a year that could, for example, help the United Nations achieve its Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. John Kerry has famously said, “Imagine the difference that would make to all those kids under the age of 30 – 60 percent in some countries — yearning for jobs and opportunity, for electricity, for education …”

The Chinese government appears to be serious about helping to address this herculean task.

Here’s how CJRENGLISH, the official English-language website of China Radio International, reported the commitment this week:

“One of the results China is trying to achieve [at the G20 Hangzhou financial Summit September 4-5] … is to initiate a three-pronged approach to international anticorruption cooperation … Specifically, this …. means to work out high-level principles of international fugitive repatriation and asset recovery, to launch a research center on fugitives and stolen assets, and to draw up a 2017-2018 action plan.”

And there is candor about the need to first fight Chinese domestic corruption:

“One prerequisite to promote international anti-graft cooperation is that a country itself should have sound domestic anti-corruption mechanisms in the first place. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has been making efforts to improve domestic legal mechanisms, and this provides the basis for institutionalizing bilateral or multilateral anti-graft cooperation.”

But, realistically:

“International anti-corruption cooperation is still in its initial stages. In order to shape long-term, sustainable mechanisms, tons of conflicts should be overcome due to the disparities between countries in their political, economic and legal systems.”

Hangzhou may be a very interesting place to be in early September.