CHINA SEEKS EXTRADITION PACTS IN SPITE OF DEATH PENALTY
May 28, 2007: China has called on Western countries to put aside fears about its death penalty and sign extradition treaties, state media reported, as the Communist Party seeks the return of suspected corrupt officials and criminals who have fled overseas.
Some governments have been reluctant to sign extradition treaties with China because of concerns about its widespread use of the death penalty and doubts about the fairness and independence of its courts, according to Chinese officials and foreign diplomats.
In March, France became only the third developed country after Spain and Portugal to sign an extradition treaty with China. In its agreements with these three countries, Beijing has guaranteed that suspects returned to China for trial will not face the death penalty.
The official Xinhua press agency reported this month that Japan was ready to negotiate an extradition treaty, but there has been no confirmation of this by the Japanese government.
The official English-language China Daily newspaper reported that 29 countries had now signed extradition treaties with China.
â€śWe are trying hard to negotiate with developed countries to conclude bilateral extradition treaties,â€ť the paper quoted Duan Jielong, director of the Foreign Ministryâ€™s treaty and law department, as saying. (Sources: The New York Times, 28/05/2007)