How Equalitarian Regulation of Online Hate Speech Turns Authoritarian: A Chinese Perspective
(2022) Journal of Media Law 14(1)
26 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2022
Date Written: March 10, 2022
This article reveals how the heterogeneous legal approaches of balancing online hate speech against equality rights in liberal democracies have informed China in its manipulative speech regulation. In an authoritarian constitutional order, the regulation of hate speech is politically relevant only because the hateful topics are related to regime-oriented concerns. The article elaborates on the infrastructure of an emerging authoritarian regulatory patchwork of online hate speech in the global context and identifies China’s unique approach of restricting political contents under the aegis of protecting equality rights. Ultimately, both the regulation and dis-regulation of online hate speech form a statist approach that deviates from the paradigm protective of equality rights in liberal democracies and serves to fend off open criticism of government policies and public discussion of topics that potentially contravene the mainstream political ideologies.
Keywords: authoritarianism, China, equality rights, free speech, online hate speech
JEL Classification: K23, K33
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