China’s ex-online tsar charged with graft

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Beijing, July 30 (IANS) The former chief of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), who was responsible for online censorship in the country, was on Monday officially charged with accepting huge sums of money in bribes following a nine-month long investigation.

Lu Wei, who headed the CAC between 2013-2016, was accused of using his position to benefit third parties in exchange for money and property, according to the prosecutors of the eastern city of Ningbo, where he is expected to be tried on a yet-to-be determined date, Xinhua news agency reported.

Lu was once one of China’s most senior officials, overseeing the department of online media regulation. His role as China’s “Internet tsar” meant he was once listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

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He was accused of corruption not only during his four years as CAC chief but also while he worked at the state-run news agency Xinhua, for the Beijing municipality and the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

As head of the CAC, Lu had played a crucial role in drafting the strict cybersecurity policy of China, where Internet censorship is among the worst in the world.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have been blocked in China for years along with several other foreign media.

Lu accompanied Chinese President Xi Jinping on his official trip to the US in 2014, where he met tech tycoons including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

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–IANS

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