Tackling Cyberbullying – China’s Law and Policy Initiatives in Recent Years

This event is co-organized by the Law and Technology Centre and the Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law of Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong.

Date: June 20, 2024 (Thursday)
Time: 1pm to 2pm
Venue: Room 723, 7/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker: Dr. Yan Mei Ning (Visiting Scholar, Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong)

Abstract: It is widely known that the authorities have an extremely firm grip on what can be communicated on the Internet in China. However, strange enough, cyberbullying has for years been a very common phenomenon there. Moreover, such online abuses have not been specifically addressed by the government. Mostly, victims of cyberbullying can only resort to bringing civil lawsuits, relying on claims that their reputation has been damaged or that their privacy have been violated. But, legal remedies are meagre and, apparently, cannot stop further incidents of cyberbullying from happening.

Things took a sudden turn in the past couple of years after several tragedies resulted from cyberbullying. One such incident occurred in early 2022, when a teenage orphan, Liu Xuezhou, committed suicide because of cyberbullying. His heart-breaking story illustrated how toxic and rampant online abuses have been and attracted huge public attention. Indeed, the authorities were under new pressure to act. Policy documents and a draft legislation addressing cyberbullying were announced soon after Liu’s death.

This talk will examine several high-profile cyberbullying cases in China, the trend of cyberbullying over the years, and whether the new regulatory and legal measures can be effective. The talk will also compare these measures with the approaches adopted in the United Kingdom, European Union, and the United States.

About the speaker: Dr. Yan has been a visiting scholar at the Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law since 2016. She is also currently a visiting scholar at the School of Law, Queen’s University of Belfast. She holds a BA from HKU, LLB (external) from University of London, LLM from Queen’s University of Belfast and a PhD in law from the University of Essex. Dr. Yan specializes in media law and has written on defamation law, privacy law, and media regulation of China and Hong Kong. She has taught at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Shantou University, and The University of Hong Kong. Before joining academia, she worked as a journalist in the 1980s and 1990s covering Hong Kong and Greater China.

Please register at https://hkuems1.hku.hk/hkuems/ec_regform.aspx?guest=Y&UEID=93963.