Canada is set to sign a deal with China to return ill-gotten assets seized from those suspected of economic crimes, the official China Daily reported on Monday, as Beijing works to track down corrupt officials who have fled overseas.
The world's second-largest economy has vowed to pursue beyond its borders a search, dubbed Operation "Fox Hunt", for corrupt officials and business executives, and their assets.
But western countries have balked at signing extradition deals with China, partly out of concern about the integrity of its judicial system and treatment of prisoners.
With the deal Canada, one of the top two destinations for suspected economic fugitives from China, becomes the third nation to agree to help Beijing bring such offenders to book, following offers this year from France and Australia.
The pact will cover "the return of property related to people who would have fled to Canada and would have been involved in corrupt activities", Canada's ambassador to China, Guy Saint-Jacques, told the China Daily in an interview.
"No country should become a haven for the corrupt to seek refuge from the law," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a daily news briefing but gave no details of the pact.
A spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird promised to provide a comment on Monday.
China has extradition pacts with 39 countries but not the United States or Canada, the two places suspected economic fugitives are most likely to go, the Foreign Ministry says.
China's Foreign Ministry has said it is considering suing people suspected of financial crimes who have fled abroad.
This month, France said it was ready to help track down people suspected of corruption who may be on French soil. In October, Australian police agreed to assist in the extradition and seizure of assets of corrupt Chinese officials, media said.
Rights groups say torture is used by Chinese authorities and the death penalty is common in corruption cases.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to go after high-ranking "tigers" as well as lowly "flies" in his campaign against corruption.
The Washington-based Global Financial Integrity Group estimates that $1.08 trillion flowed out of China illegally from 2002 to 2011.
China this month asked the U.S. to help it track down more than 100 people suspected of corruption. At least 428 Chinese suspects were captured abroad by the end of October under the "Fox Hunt" campaign, state media reported.