MORE than 150 economic fugitives, many of whom are corrupt officials or suspected of graft in China, are at large in the US, a senior official from the Chinese public security ministry has said.

The US "has become the top destination for Chinese fugitives fleeing the law", said Liao Jinrong, director general of the ministry's International Co-operation Bureau.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made fighting pervasive graft a central theme and has warned, like others before him, that corruption threatens the Communist Party's survival.

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Beijing has long grappled with the issue of government workers whose husbands, wives or children are overseas and who use foreign family connections to illegally move assets out of China or avoid investigation.

Some estimates put the number of Chinese officials and relatives moving assets offshore at more than one million in the past five years.