A leading internet censor was expelled from the Communist Party of China on Tuesday and will face trial for corruption.
China’s disciplinary watchdog accused 64-year-old Peng Bo of failing to supervise the internet industry. He was previously the deputy chief of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
An investigation found Peng “lost his faith and was disloyal to the party,” in a statement from the CAC.
Peng “engaged in superstitious activities and illegally received large amounts of property,” according to a statement from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Tuesday, as cited by AP News.
The CCDI began investigating Peng in March, and his case has since been referred to state prosecutors, according to South China Morning Post.
As the deputy head of the CAC, Peng was in charge of regulating China’s vast internet industry.
China has 989 million internet users as of December 2020, and domestic-developed social media platforms have grown rapidly over the past decade.
READ MORE: 7 Surprising Stats on Chinese Internet Users
Weibo reached 530 million monthly active users in March 2021 and has been a popular platform for key opinion leaders in China.
According to SCMP, Peng played an important role in convincing party leadership to take a more “lenient view” regarding the regulation of microblogging platforms in 2013.
Peng’s expulsion from the party was trending on Weibo on Tuesday, garnering 260 million views as of press time.
“Wow, such a high-ranking officer that could interfere with public opinion to fall from his horse... this hashtag won’t last a day,” posted one Weibo user under the hashtag #彭波被开除党籍# (#PengBoExpelledFromParty).
Peng previously worked under Lu Wei, China’s former internet chief, who is currently serving a 14-year sentence for corruption. Lu pleaded guilty in 2019 of accepting millions of dollars in bribes.
[Cover image via @西平郡司马/Weibo]
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