The director of China’s Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs was replaced by one of his deputies, state news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

Lu Wei stepped down as the head of the Cyberspace Administration of China and is replaced by 53-year-old Xu Lin.

Xu was previously in charge of propaganda in China's commercial capital Shanghai till 2015 after which he was moved to Beijing where he joined the Cyberspace Affairs office. Xu and President Xi Jinping had briefly worked together when the president was the chief of Shanghai’s Communist Party. According to the South China Morning Post, Xu is regarded as a protege of President Xi. 

In a statement, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced a string of replacements but didn’t elaborate on why the officials had been replaced.

China replaces head of cyberspace affairs Director of Cyberspace Administration of China Lu Wei speaks at the closing ceremony of the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, Dec. 18, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/STINGER/FILE PHOTO

The secretary of the CPC Jiangxi Provincial Committee Qiang Wei was replaced by Lu Xinshe. Qiang is reportedly no longer a member of the CPC Jiangxi Provincial Committee or its Standing Committee.

The secretary of the CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee and member of the CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee as well as its Standing Committee Luo Huining was replaced by Wang Guosheng. 

Chinese officials are reportedly believe that internet restrictions, which include the blocking of popular foreign sites like Google and Facebook, are needed to maintain security in the face of rising threats like terrorism. Other governments and business groups say the internet restrictions pose a much larger trade issue.