Human Rights Law Centre

Researching Law-in-Society in China: The Interplay between Law and Media in Defamation Litigation (1992-2011)

The project investigates how legal systems, particularly in transitional societies, affect society at large and the social behaviour of everyday life, and how various social elements combine and interact in the formation of the law.

The project focuses specifically on China as example of a society in legal transition, aiming to investigate how legal notions constructed and reflected in the public sphere may interact with and affect the assimilation and reference to the same notions in court judgments. Specific attention is paid to the interplay between the courts’ judicial interpretation of defamation law and the construction of norms on defamation in society.

The project seeks to explain and examine the processes of norm creation, adoption and diffusion in China’s defamation litigation between 1992 and 2011. It aims to reveal the interaction of power (who or what has dominated the process) and knowledge (which norms are privileged and negated by those who have power) in the processes of construction of legal norms on defamation in China in relation to international norms as standards for the appropriate behaviour of domestic actors.

The project will lead to the publication of a monograph on 'The Interplay between Law and Society in Defamation in China'. Moreover, academic articles on different aspects of the research will be submitted to leading peer-reviewed journals in socio-legal, media or political science studies. Throughout the project, intermediate achievements and research outputs will be presented at international conferences and public eminars.


Working Paper Series

Yik-Chan Chin, Public Service and Individual Rights:  Striking the Balance between Order, Development and Freedom of Speech in China (2011).

Download the full paper at SSRN:

Dr Chin was interviewed by Caixin, China's leading business magazine, on the governance of social media:

The information on this project will be updated frequently. For general enquiries regarding the project please contact Dr Yanbin Lu -


This project is funded by the University of Nottingham Advance Research Fellowship and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (RG006-U-09).


Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 8506


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