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In China Government says graft suspects abroad abuse system to prolong cases

Liu said China has pursued and brought home more than 800 suspected corrupt officials, including 18 of the top 100 suspects it targeted with an Interpol red notice in April.

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China's President Xi Jinping speaks during a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sandton, Johannesburg, December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko play China's President Xi Jinping speaks during a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sandton, Johannesburg, December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Chinese corruption suspects who have fled abroad have been abusing legal systems of host countries to prolong their cases in what is a big challenge to China's efforts to get them back, a top anti-graft official said on Thursday.

In an unusual effort at transparency, Liu Jianchao, who runs the secretive corruption watchdog's team trying to repatriate graft suspects, told foreign reporters China had to respect the laws of other countries in trying to get those people returned.

But underscoring the limits of the openness quest, Liu declined to answer questions about one of the most sensitive cases that involves the brother of a one-time senior aide to a then president, Hu Jintao.

Liu said China has pursued and brought home more than 800 suspected corrupt officials, including 18 of the top 100 suspects it targeted with an Interpol red notice in April.

Still, he said it was an uphill task.

"China respects the law and legal procedures of the host country. At the same time, we hope that the relevant laws and procedures of these countries are not abused by suspects," Liu said.

Many of the suspects took large sums of money with them when they fled, and can afford to drag out legal cases using the best lawyers, he added.

"Using this illegal money to defend their illegal actions is a challenge to justice and the law," Liu said.

China needs to think of ways to prevent this, he said, without elaborating.

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