China catches more than 400 fugitive officials accused of corruption

More than 400 fugitive Chinese officials have been arrested in a campaign to track down fleeing government figures accused of corruption, a news report said Tuesday.

The campaign is the second launched since 2001 to track down fugitive officials, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said more than 4,000 officials accused of graft were believed to be on the run, with about 500 of them living abroad.

China's government has punished thousands of officials, and executed some , in an effort to assure a frustrated public that it is tackling widespread graft.

"The failure to arrest these officials swiftly may be detrimental to the efforts to create a harmonious socialist society in China the foundation of the ruling Communist Party of China," Xinhua said, citing a report by the office of China's top prosecutor.

Xinhua said one official arrested in the latest campaign was Lian Rongguan, a former bank official and deputy mayor of Renqiu, a city in the northern province of Hebei who it said fled with "a huge amount of public money."

Lian was caught last month in Yantai, a seaside city on China's northeastern coast, the report said.

It didn't identify anyone else arrested in the sweep.

Some officials turned themselves in after their names were posted on the Internet, Xinhua said. It said authorities in the central province of Henan arrested 28 suspects within 20 days after a list of 222 names was publicized.

Others were caught after tips from the public, and police spent up to 1 million yuan (US$125,000; Ђ 100,000) to track down some officials, Xinhua said.

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