The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has expelled a leading Internet censor and accused him of a range of crimes and rule breaking from corruption to failing to properly guide public opinion.
Peng Bo (彭波) had been deputy head of the Leading Group for the Prevention and Handling of Cults, a body set up after the party launched a sweeping crackdown against the Falun Gong, which it viewed as a threat to its authority.
An investigation found that Peng’s “ideals and beliefs collapsed, and that he had been disloyal to the party, deviated from the Party Central Committee decisions on the online public opinion struggle [and] gave up on positions taken on managing the Internet,” the party’s disciplinary watchdog body wrote on its Web site.
Peng also “engaged in superstitious activities and illegally received large amounts of property,” said the notice, dated Tuesday.
Along with being expelled from the CCP, he is stripped of all pay and benefits and is being referred for criminal prosecution for numerous contraventions of discipline and on suspicion of bribery, it said.
The public announcement was unusual because of the sensitivity of Peng’s position, and the accusations of losing faith and defiance of party orders. Such notices are generally brief and provide little information of the charges, almost always related to corruption.
China heavily censors the Internet and social media platforms for content not aligned with CCP policies or that questions the party and state media’s version of history and current events, or its controls over religious expression.
Party officials and Internet companies are expected guide public opinion by deleting posts seen as deviant, while content seen as insulting to the party or nation can result in a massive backlash from online nationalists and possible criminal prosecution.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has also led a years-long crackdown on corruption that has ensnared numerous serving and retired officials in what some say are politically motivated prosecutions.
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