The law of libel, and especially the law of libel as applied to emerging forms of communication via the Internet has become a quite lively area of discussion in China. The liveliness cane be attributed, in part, to recent efforts by state organs to clarify, and to some extent, to broaden the reach of libel--and especially the criminal libel laws--against internet users.
That was the context for a quite provocative and important presentation by Dr. SUN Yuhua, Professor of Law at East China University of Political Science & Law, and currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University Law School at Penn State Law School this past week. Dr. Sun specializes in constitutional and procedural law.
The abstract and PowerPoint presentations follow.
How Can the Judicial Interpretation of Internet Libel Break through the Firewall of the Constitution?
Dr. SUN Yuhua
Abstract: The paper considers whether the current judicial interpretation of Internet libel in China fails to balance the needs to protect freedom of speech, rights of supervision and human dignity. Furthermore, this article considers whether the current judicial interpretation violates the principle of legally prescribed punishment, contravenes the principle of ex post facto prohibition, and disrupts the balance of the Chinese internal justice system. In order to resolve any possible constitutional problem of the current judicial interpretation, this paper argues for the establishment of strict conditions for initiating public libel prosecution, abrogation of the current expansive interpretation of Internet libel, and eventual phases-out of public prosecution for libel when conditions are ripe.