China swaps cyber czars

Lu Wei steps down, Xu Lin steps up


China has a new Internet chief, after Lu Wei abruptly stepped down.

The government's official announcement, through Xinhua, says the new head of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs will be Xu Lin.

Xu is expected to maintain the Communist Party's tight control over the Internet in China. Xu was already a deputy to Lu, after two years in charge of propaganda in Shanghai.

The South China Morning Post describes Xu as a close ally and key supporter of President Xi Jinping.

Lu was well-known to the international tech scene. As well as heading the bureaucracy responsible for the “great firewall”, he visited the US in 2014 to be feted by the likes of Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos.

So far, there's been no official word on what prompted the change at the top, but Lu seems to have retained his post as head of the party's Central Publicity Department. ®

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