Party Propaganda chief under investigation for corruption

Lu Wei, 57, also headed cyber security. During his tenure, China’s first cyber watchdog law was enacted. Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has so far led to the purge of 250 top party officials as well as almost 1.5 million cadres and bureaucrats.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Lu Wei, the powerful deputy chief of the Communist Party's Propaganda Department and former cyber security boss, is under investigation for "serious violations of Party discipline," a euphemism for corruption, the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI) announced yesterday.

Several of Lu’s associates and officials in charge of regulating online services have also been taken into custody by CCDI investigators for questioning, Caixin reported.

Lu was born in Anhui and worked for the Xinhua news agency for at least 20 years, first in Guilin (Guangxi), then in Beijing, rapidly rising through the ranks.

the 57-year-old became deputy head of the party's Publicity (Propaganda) Department, a powerful party agency exercising ideological control, in May 2014 whilst still heading the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which he quit in 2016.

During his tenure, China adopted its first cyber security law, which provides the authorities with the legal basis to monitor the internet.

A trip he made to the United States was front-page news. At the time he met top tech giants like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Apple's Tim Cook (pictured), telling them that China had its own security system to define security and privacy.

The last time he was seen in public was 24 October, when he visited Yan’an, the "birthplace of revolution".

Speaking to a local TV station he said that it was necessary to "abide by party chief Xi Jinping’s vision” and hold onto his “red DNA and make use of the (revolutionary) Yan’an spirit”. However, this show of loyalty did not prevent him from being investigated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched an anti-corruption campaign after he took power in November 2012. His main targets are the “tigers and flies” within the Communist Party, i.e. high- and low-ranking officials guilty of embezzlement or leading an extravagant lifestyle.

For the great political analyst and dissident Bao Tong, the campaign has less to do with graft than with whom controls the party.

Since it began, the campaign has netted more than 250 top party officials as well as almost 1.5 million lower ranking cadres and bureaucrats who have been dismissed or punished.