Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
Business

China Replaces Top Internet Regulator and Censor with Deputy

His successor will be his deputy, former propaganda official Xu Lin, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday

In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg (R) as Lu Wei (L) China's Internet czar, looks on during a gathering of CEOs and other executives at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington, photo: AP/Ted S. Warren, Pool, File
1 year ago

BEIJING — China has replaced its internet regulator, Lu Wei, the hard-liner responsible for leading the government’s efforts to tighten control over domestic cyberspace and export the ruling Communist Party’s philosophy of web control.

Lu wielded expansive powers as head of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs since 2014, dictating what 700 million Chinese internet users may view online and acting as gatekeeper for technology companies wishing to do business in China.

His successor will be his deputy, former propaganda official Xu Lin, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

Lu Wei, director of Cyberspace Administration of China, speaks at the closing ceremony of the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, December 18, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Stringer, File

Lu Wei, director of Cyberspace Administration of China, speaks at the closing ceremony of the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, December 18, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Stringer, File

The departure of Lu, one of the Communist Party’s rising stars and an ambitious ally of President Xi Jinping, had been rumored for months and is not expected to alter the broad direction of China’s internet policy. Xinhua did not mention a new post for Lu, who will keep his concurrent position as deputy head of the party’s propaganda department. He could be in line to lead the department or take over a provincial post, according to political analysts and speculation in Chinese media.

But the reshuffle likely means a new face will greet foreign executives like Apple’s Tim Cook and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella who have been dealing with thorny cybersecurity and trade issues on their visits to Beijing.

Although the outspoken and gregarious Lu has visited tech companies in the U.S., where he has been pictured joking with the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, he has also taken a hard line in demanding tough security checks on imported foreign tech products and keeping out social networks like Facebook in the name of preserving social stability.

Lu assumed his job at a time when China’s government was reeling from widespread online criticism, and promptly launched a massive social media crackdown — including detentions of online celebrities — that quickly chilled China’s once-freewheeling Weibo microblogging platform.

Under Lu’s watch, China has been codifying a series of cybersecurity and national security laws that gives the government greater legal powers to control online content and speech.

With his success taming China’s internet, Lu has gone overseas to preach China’s vision of “internet sovereignty,” a world order in which every government could dictate limits to its cyberspace and how its citizens access the web. Last week he delivered a speech on the subject in Moscow, where he told an audience that “freedom is not a right, but a responsibility” and warned that unlimited freedom could spawn terrorism.

Rogier Creemers, a China scholar at the University of Oxford, said Lu was likely being primed to take over a high-level provincial post or the propaganda department itself, the kind of positions that are springboards to the Politburo, China’s elite policymaking body.

“Lu’s most important achievement was that he took a government that was scared of the internet and changed it into a government that was very much in control of the internet,” Creemers said. “From the Chinese policy perspective, it was very innovative, very effective. He’s won, and the political cauldron that was Weibo is gone.”

Xu Lin, deputy director of China's internet regulator, attends a Shanghai delegation group discussion at the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, March 6, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Stringer, File

Xu Lin, deputy director of China’s internet regulator, attends a Shanghai delegation group discussion at the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, March 6, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Stringer, File

It remains unclear how Xu’s ascent will affect China’s posture toward U.S. tech companies, a thorn in bilateral relations. But one former U.S. technology executive based in Beijing who met frequently with Chinese officials said Western companies are largely unfamiliar with Xu and would need to rebuild relationships as they had with Lu.

Still, observers believe that the general direction of Chinese technology policy will not change under the Xi administration, particularly given the close ties between the president and Xu, who served under him a decade ago in the Shanghai government.

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.

James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, urged Beijing on Wednesday to rethink its internet controls.

“One unfortunate consequence of over-broad internet policies is to potentially isolate China technologically from the rest of the world, and the result of that may be to limit the country’s access to cutting-edge technology and global ideas,” he said.

GERRY SHIH

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
Latest News

Democrat Jones wins stunning red-state A ...

3 days ago
Business

Asian stocks mixed ahead of Fed rate ann ...

3 days ago
Entertainment

NFL Network suspends analysts over sexua ...

3 days ago
Business

Minnesota announces restrictions on usin ...

3 days ago
Most Popular

Patricia Espinosa Opens Mexico Conferenc ...

By The Associated Press
Business

French PM says Disputed Labour Bill Open ...

By The Associated Press
Business

White House Steps Up Aid for Financially ...

By The Associated Press
Business

How Apple's 'Security Czars' Fight to Pr ...

By Reuters
Business

Thousands of Jobs at Risk as India's Tat ...

By Reuters
Business