Lu Wei (鲁炜), the former head of the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), an agency whose role he helped to shape after its formation in 2014 under the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission (中央网络安全和信息化领导小组), was sentenced today to 14 years in jail for bribery. The sentence, which according to a brief official release from China News Agency, Lu Wei said in court that he would not appeal, marks an ignominious end to Lu’s long career as a propaganda official.
The real factors and events behind Lu’s fall from grace remain unclear, but today’s news release suggested Lu had engaged in corruption through roughly 15 years in senior positions of power, from 2002 to 2017.
The release said Lu had “used the convenience of his positions as a member of the Party Committee, and as secretary and deputy director at Xinhua News Agency, as a member of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee, as [Beijing’s] minister of propaganda, as Beijing deputy mayor, as director of the Cyberspace Administration of China and as director of the Office of the the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission” to illegally exact around 32 million yuan in bribes.
The language of the release, though vague, suggests that Lu is accused essentially of monetizing his position of power within the propaganda system by offering related assistance to companies and individuals. It said that he had leveraged the above-mentioned positions to “offer help to relevant companies and individuals in such areas as internet regulation (网络管理), corporate business (企业经营), job promotion (职务晋升) and work reassignment.”
Photos from the courtroom were posted today through the official Weibo account of the Ningbo People’s Intermediate Court (宁波市中级人民法院).