China today published its list of the top 100 most wanted economic fugitives who have fled abroad—”foxes” in Beijing’s bestiary of criminals (domestic thieves are called either “tigers” or “flies”, depending on the size of their crime). A similar list was already available from Interpol, but China’s has a new feature: it mentions where the foxes are believed to have run to. The new information was added in order to point the finger at America for harboring many of these characters—37 of the total 100. Chinese crooks seem to love the anglosphere, with Canada and Australia also being favored destinations. But America, it seems, is still number one.
Even before this list came out, Beijing already planned to send Wang Qishan, the head of the ominously-named Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and probably the second or third most powerful man in China today, to Washington. The Commission, which has traditionally been tasked with prosecuting crimes within the Chinese Communist Party itself, has been spearheading Xi Jinping’s party purge, and has recently launched a new initiative (dubbed “Sky Net“) for taking the purge beyond China’s borders. There have been some early signs indicating that America might be willing to play ball with China on this issue, but we probably won’t know how far the cooperation will go until Xi’s state visit in September.
Regular readers know we’ve been warning about pitfalls of getting in bed with Beijing on this one. Let’s see how the Obama administration plays this.