A Really Interestingly Timed Corruption Extradition

The AP reports that the US extradited a long-sought Chinese corruption target, Yang Jinjun.

A most-wanted Chinese fugitive suspected of graft and bribery was brought back from the U.S. on Friday after he fled there in 2001, officials said, as Beijing seeks stronger cooperation from Washington.

Yang Jinjun — the businessman brother of a former deputy mayor in the eastern city of Wenzhou — is the first person to be repatriated to China from the U.S. since the “Sky Net” operation targeting 100 fugitives was launched in April, the Ministry of Supervision said.


The last prominent repatriation case out of the United States was in 2004, when Chinese bank executive Yu Zhendong, accused of embezzling $485 million with other defendants, was sent back on the condition that Yu would not be tortured or given the death penalty, which is common in China even for less serious corruption cases.

Note the story relies on Chinese sources, not US ones. The Obama Administration is not, at least thus far, making the same kind of big deal about this as China is.

The extradition comes in the wake of news that the US would crack down on agents the Chinese send to bully corruption targets to return for prosecution, and as Congress demands Obama retaliate for the OPM hack even in spite of the precedent that would establish for people to retaliate for our more ambitious bulk collection. And, of course, the extradition comes in advance of Xi Jinping’s visit.

I suspect it will be years before we learn the full extent of deals drafted in advance of Xi’s visit. But I take this as a sign the US is being more cooperative than a lot of people in DC would support.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

3 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    But, but … splutter … how can we even Think of talking to these people? China, Russia. Don’t we get more from them by projecting strong military force, and bombing everyone else, than by talking to them? China would never cut a deal with us, would they, that helps us? Russia sure never did anything for us, not even for Ronnie. (At least, that’s what I learned Wednesday night.)

  2. greengiant says:

    NYTimes reports that China and the US are negotiating a Cyber Security Pact to be announced during Xi Jingping’s visit.

    • Anon says:

      A CyberSec pact is an interesting idea but how would you verify it? When we signed the disarmourment treaty with the Soviets each side had to send people to watch bombs be destroyed. How would you do that here?

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