Blurring Social Order With Public Sentiment: Governing Online Disinformation Through Criminal Penalty in China

Tingting Li, Daniel C. Hallin


Regulating Internet content has become one of the paramount issues in China, with one of the governmental tools in the fight against disinformation being a criminal charge. This article analyzes 554 criminal judgment documents, revealing that courts view the potential for public sentiment to disturb social order as a primary justification for convicting online speakers. These speakers, often affiliated with commercial and noninstitutional identities, are targeted for publishing criticism that might garner widespread public attention, with the ultimate aim of protecting government officials and regime stability.


social order, national interest, disinformation, criminal penalty, China

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