Former Fugitive Lai Changxing Confesses in Major Corruption Case

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Chinese businessman Lai Changxing has indicated that he will plead guilty to extensive corruption charges. Lai fled China in 1999, fearing charges in an immense corruption scandal. China's prosecutors have long alleged that he masterminded a huge network of government and business sector corruption, as well as smuggling operations worth 10 billion US dollars.

From 1999 till last year, Lai lived in Canada where authorities refused his extradition to China--on the grounds that he would be killed or tortured. As part of efforts to secure Lai's extradition, former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin promised the Canadian government that Lai would not be given the death penalty. Last year, Canada finally handed Lai over to Chinese security forces.

Torture and "unofficial" deaths in police custody or in Chinese jails remains a common fate for many perceived enemies of the Chinese Communist Party.