Former Chinese internet czar Lu Wei sentenced to 14 years in prison for bribery

Former Chinese Minister of Cyberspace Affairs Administration, Lu Wei, speaks at the opening ceremony of the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, in eastern China's Zhejiang province on November 19, 2014.

Beijing (CNN)China has sentenced the country's former internet czar and top censor to 14 years in prison, after he was found guilty of corruption, a court statement said Tuesday.

Lu Wei, who once headed the country's powerful cyberspace administration, had accepted bribes worth more than 32 million yuan ($4.8 million) from 2002 to 2017, according to the Ningbo Intermediate People's Court in eastern China.
Lu, 59, was charged in July 2018. He said he would not appeal the verdict.
    Lu's sudden fall from power began two years earlier, in mid-2016, when he left his position at the Cyberspace Administration. At that time, some speculated Lu was destined for even higher office. Such was his perceived connection to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who consistently promoted Lu during earlier periods in his career.
      But it soon became apparent the censor had lost favor; an official corruption investigation was announced just weeks before the opening of the 2017 World Internet Conference, a gathering of China's top government officials and industry leaders seen as his brainchild.
      He was dismissed from public office and expelled from the Communist party in February 2018.
      Chinese President Xi Jinping (middle) talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg (right) as Lu Wei, China's Internet czar, looks on during a gathering of CEOs and other executives at the main campus of Microsoft Corp September 23, 2015  in Redmond, Washington.

      Rise to the top

        Short and stocky, with a wide smile and larger-than-life presence, Lu was born in 1960. He started his climb through the ranks of China's propaganda and censorship apparatus at Xinhua, which he joined as a regional correspondent in the 1990s.
        By 2001, he was the news agency's secretary general, and would become its vice president within three years. According to some reports, he was an ally of former Premier Wen Jiabao and responsible in part for crafting his man-of-the-people "Grandpa Wen" image.