BEIJING (AP) — One of China’s most wanted fugitives voluntarily returned from the U.S. on Saturday in a new victory for the government’s campaign to track down corruption suspects who have fled abroad, the ruling Communist Party said.
The party’s anti-graft body said that Huang Yurong had turned herself at Beijing’s Capital Airport. Official photos showed Huang flanked by police officers standing before an official while a document was read and then signing a piece of paper.
Huang is accused of abusing her position as head of the highway administration in the central province of Henan to embezzle funds and take bribes. She fled abroad in August 2002, and had resided in the U.S. for the last 13 years.
Although Washington has no extradition treaty with China, it has agreed to assist in the repatriation of officials accused of corruption. In return, the U.S. hopes for Beijing’s help in taking back the thousands of Chinese residing in the U.S. illegally.
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Huang was ranked No. 4 on a list of China’s 100 most wanted suspects issued in April and filed with Interpol. Her husband, former Henan provincial transport department chief Shi Faliang, had already been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005 on corruption charges.
The anti-graft body, known as the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said it had made Huang a priority and dispatched officials to build a case against her.
The commission made no mention of the amount of money involved or any admission of guilt.
It quoted Huang as saying she was happy to return home, had full confidence in the Chinese legal system and would “provide a clear explanation as to her issues.”
Since taking office in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption in public life a central part of his political agenda. The government is believed to use offers of lighter sentences or better treatment of relatives as inducements for suspects to return from abroad.