Thousands of corrupt Chinese government officials have stolen more than $120-billion from the mid-1990s to 2008, according to a report from China’s central bank.

Most of these thieves fled mainly to the United States with the looted cash, the bank surmises.

The bank estimates that anywhere from 16,000 and 18,000 state officials and/or employees of state-owned companies used offshore bank accounts to smuggle the funds out of the country.

Some smuggled the cash to Australia, Canada and Holland. Other lower-ranking officials fled to places like Russia and Thailand.

The misappropriated money was often disguised as business transactions and by the establishment of private companies in overseas countries which were set up to receive the money transfers.

The bank also warned that corruption in China poses a serious enough threat to the county’s economy and political stability

President Hu Jintao and other senior government officials have repeatedly vowed to wipe out the endemic corruption in China.

The Bank warned that such widespread graft could severely tarnish China's international image since such misdeeds undoubtedly exposed problems such as political corruption, loopholes in the legal system, and incomplete financial supervision in China.

The bank recommended that firmly punishing and effectively preventing corruption are critical to the winning or losing of public support and the life or death of the Party and therefore is a key political task the Party must handle well.”