China says ex-top internet regulator under investigation

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2015, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, right, as Lu Wei, left, China's Internet czar, looks on during a gathering of CEOs and other executives at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Wash. China's former top internet regulator and censor Lu Wei is being investigated by the ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption arm, the agency said Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool, File)

BEIJING — China's former top internet regulator and censor is being investigated by the ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption arm, the agency said Tuesday.

The party's anti-graft watchdog agency said in a brief statement on its website that Lu Wei is suspected of "serious violations of discipline." Until Tuesday's announcement, Lu had been deputy head of the party's propaganda department.

Lu was known as a hard-liner responsible for leading the government's efforts to tighten control over domestic cyberspace and championing the party's position that governments have a right to filter and censor their countries' internet.

He wielded enormous power over what 700 million Chinese internet users could view online and acted as gatekeeper for technology companies wishing to do business in China.

No details were given in Tuesday's announcement, which comes after a party congress at which President Xi Jinping was given a second five-year term as party chief. Lu is the most senior Chinese official to be investigated since the party congress closed late last month.

Lu was suddenly replaced as cyberspace chief in June last year by his deputy, Xu Lin. Lu held on to his concurrent position of deputy head of propaganda but kept what observers thought was an uncharacteristically low profile.

Appointed in 2014 as China's top internet regulator, Lu held high-profile meetings with top executives from foreign technology and internet companies, including Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Lu took a hard line in demanding tough security checks on imported foreign tech products and keeping out foreign internet companies and social networks like Facebook in the name of preserving social stability.

Lu's departure from the position has not led to any changes or easing of such demands and restrictions on information.

In recent years China has pushed cybersecurity regulations aimed at limiting technology imported from the West, which Beijing officials say is necessary given Edward Snowden's allegations of U.S. spying via "backdoors" inserted in exported U.S.-made hardware.

Lu worked his way up the ranks of China's official Xinhua News Agency from a reporting job in the city of Guilin in southern Guangxi province in the early 1990s to becoming the agency's vice president from 2004 to 2011. He was vice mayor of Beijing from 2011 to 2013.

People also read these

Foreign doctors deem ill Chinese Nobel laureate OK to travel

Jul 9, 2017

Two foreign specialists who visited Liu Xiaobo say the cancer-stricken Nobel Peace Prize laureate...

China's Huawei posts slower first-half revenue growth

Jul 27, 2017

China's Huawei Technology says first-half revenues at telecom gear, smartphone businesses expand at...

Hong Kong shuts down as powerful typhoon sweeps past

Aug 23, 2017

A powerful typhoon has forced offices and schools to close and canceled hundreds of flights on Hong...

New rules, tech are dimming Hong Kong's signature neon glow

Aug 31, 2017

Neon signs advertising shops and nightclubs gave Hong Kong a signature look to match its economic...

Workers at iPhone supplier in China protest unpaid bonuses

Oct 19, 2017

Apple vows to investigate underpayment of bonuses at iPhone supplier in China after worker protests

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com