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China’s Former Internet Regulator Lu Wei Charged With Corruption

China has charged its former top Internet regulator, Lu Wei, with corruption.

Charges against Lu and two other former officials, Mo Jiancheng and Zhang Jiehui, were made by the Supreme People’s Procurate and announced Monday through state-owned media. Cases against the three were filed in Ningbo, Beijing and Taiyuan. Trial dates were not announced.

State media said Lu had taken advantage of his positions and used other officials to seek profits for others. It said he had accepted a “huge amount of money and property.”

The allegations related to Lu’s activities while at state news agency Xinhua, the Beijing municipal party committee, Communist Party’s central committee and at the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Until 2016, Lu had been head of the CAC, the body established to censor and control the Internet. He was seen as the charismatic head of a crackdown as China moved to establish its own norms and practices, under a policy known as Internet Sovereignty.

Lu is one of the highest profile officials to be taken down by the anti-corruption campaign that has marked Xi Jinping’s presidency. Lu was expelled from the Communist Party in February this year, and denounced by the anti-corruption body as “tyrannical,” “arbitrary,” and “shameless.” He was also alleged to have lost self-control and to have traded power for sexual favors.

With Lu neutralized, China is understood to be close to announcing the appointment of new heads of the propaganda and Internet sectors.

A close ally of Xi’s, Xu Lin, is expected to move from the CAC and be named new head of the Communist Party’s international propaganda, replacing Jiang Jianguo. Zhuang Rongwen, a senior official in the State Administration of Press and Publication, and also director of the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, is tipped to take over at the CAC.

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