China

Regulation of Digital Media Platforms: The case of China

WeChat

In this policy brief, Dr Jufang Wang reviews China's regulation of digital media platforms against the backdrop of the party-state's concerns that the platforms' increasing power as gatekeepers of online news and information may undermine its information control.

Dr Wang examines the adjustment of China’s online content regulatory framework from targeting individual speakers and publishers to targeting digital platforms, which are required to fulfil a series of content governance obligations, including the real-name registration and verification policy, conducting real-time content monitoring, and establishing a user blacklisting mechanism.

Her analysis covers the rationale behind the severe punishments handed down to private platforms for hosting problematic content deemed to be politically sensitive, vulgar, or disinformation, as well as the efforts of the CCP to ensure greater control of the editorial decision-making of these digital media companies at the boardroom level.

She considers whether the so-called ‘special management share’ initiative may be applied to larger platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, and discusses the implications for their global reputation and possible conflicts arising from their obligations under international jurisdictions as publicly listed companies in overseas stock markets.

Dr Jufang Wang is deputy director of the Platforms, Governance, and Global Society (PGG) programme in the Law, Justice and Society Research Cluster at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Previously, Jufang was Vice Director of News at CRI Online (part of China Media Group, China’s equivalent of the BBC), and has been an academic visitor at the BBC (2011) and at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford (2014). 
 

Governance of Public Opinion in the Age of Platforms: A Study of China

Jufang Wang, a former news editor in China and academic visitor at the BBC and Oxford University, offers insights into China’s news transformation and Internet governance in the platform age. She argues that the Chinese state has adjusted its Internet regulatory framework to target major digital media platforms such as WeChat, Weibo and Toutiao and requires them to take the “main responsibilites” in governing their sites. Such a new approach leads to what she calls “state governance through platforms”. 

eCommerce Week 2019: Dr Ying Yu advises UN on how blockchain technology can be used to protect consumer rights

FLJS Research Fellow and Oxford One Belt One Road programme Deputy Director Dr Ying Yu delivered a talk at the United Nations during eCommerce Week 2019, at an event in Geneva on 3 April, advising the UN on how blockchain technology can be used in the development of international, cross-border consumer protection practices.

Legal and Regulatory Challenges of the Sharing Economy

Uber

This policy brief examines the issues raised by the emergence of huge companies such as Uber in the UK and Didi in China that operate in the so-called ‘sharing economy’. The business model of these companies represents a fundamental realignment of the relations between capital and labour, and raises questions about the liability for public safety, the need to preserve the jobs of traditional ‘offline’ operators, and the unfair use of consumers’ personal data.

The authors examine recent cases involving Uber and Transport for London which saw the company’s licence temprarily suspended, and the 2016 ruling in favour of two Uber drivers which recognized them as employees under UK employment law, rather than as independent contractors or self-employed.

The brief concludes that the rapid expansion and diversification of the sharing economy requires carefully crafted measures that can be implemented by existing regulatory bodies, or by new and alternative forms of regulators altogether.

FLJS Fellow Dr Ying Yu presents research at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

FLJS Research Fellow Dr Ying Yu, Programme Coordinator of the FLJS Consumer Rights in China programme and Deputy Director of the Oxford University One Belt One Road (OBOR) programme, presented her research on dispute resolution and consumer protection at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 9-13 July at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Reinterpreting Confucius’ Ideas on Law, Justice and Society

Dr Ying Yu gives a bold reinterpretation of Confucian thought, drawing parallels between Eastern and Western jurisprudence to challenge the conventional wisdom that the two major civilizations have developed along entirely different lines.

Dr Yu recounts her own experience of the banning of Confucianism during the Cultural Revolution, and argues that, over the course of the few decades since the ban was lifted, insufficient scholarship has been devoted to the Classical Chinese of the original Confucian scripts.