Briefing: China’s former chief internet regulator sentenced to 14 years in prison

By Eliza Gritsi
1 min read

What happened: A court in the eastern city of Ningbo found Lu Wei, who served in top government posts for more than 15 years, accepted bribes worth RMB 32 million ($4.77 million). He pleaded guilty after being accused of corruption in October, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Tuesday. The court also confiscated all assets he acquired through his abuse of power. He served as the first director of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) from 2013 to 2016, where he pursued pervasive internet controls.

Why it’s important: Lu was widely seen as the face of China’s internet censorship after a long career in media. He worked his way up through China’s official Xinhua news agency, beginning in Guangxi province, was appointed the vice mayor of Beijing and then minister of the Beijing Propaganda Department before being made head of the CAC. His unexplained resignation from this influential position in June 2016 came as a shock since he had become the face of internet censorship in China. In 2015, Lu was named one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine.