Czar booked on suspicion of taking bribes

BEIJING — Beijing’s top surveillance czar has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes and framing a businessman, a move that comes as a serious blow to the net nannies who police the “Great Firewall of China.”

Yu Bing, director of the internet monitoring department of Beijing’s Public Security Bureau (PSB), has been arrested on suspicion of taking more than 40 million yuan ($5.8 million) in bribes.

China has tens of thousands of “net nannies,” who read every email, web posting or search for terms such as “Dalai Lama” or “Falun Gong.”

Yu has been detained by the Beijing procurator and is under investigation on charges of taking bribes from anti-virus software company Ruixing and partnering with other Internet police to frame a competitor of Ruixing, Dongfang Weidian Co. (Micropoint), resulting in the failure of the competitor’s new products to reach the market.

Zhao Sizhang, vice prexy of Ruixing (Rising in English), is under arrest on suspicion of bribing Yu.

Yu is also accused of using falsified data from three anti-virus software companies and a falsified report from an accounting firm recommended by Ruixing, which claimed a financial loss was caused by a Micropoint virus. The falsified data was allegedly used to prove Micropoint VP Tian Yakui had broken into a computer information system and infringed on commercial secrets.

Yu’s data led to Tian spending 11 months in custody and Micropoint was forced to delay the release of its anti-virus software for three years.

Everyone in Beijing is accustomed to living with surveillance of their online activities: internet cafe habitues, student bloggers, teenage gamers and foreign journalists are all used to that familiar message saying your internet search has fallen foul of security.

Journalists visiting Beijing during the Summer Olympics last year complained and restrictions were temporarily lifted.

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