Closed political system and strict censorship is helpful for reducing hate speech

It is a generally acknowledged fact that the development of the internet has brought enormous convenience to the daily life of humans, especially in the last decade, various types of platforms have been created and simultaneously enriched human life and improved the quality of life to a large extent. With the diverse functions of platforms developed from the most basic practical services to the entertainment social media, the spiritual world of humans has been enriched based on the satisfaction of the basic material needs of daily life.

However, while the internet and platforms have brought many benefits to humans, there are also some disadvantages. The issue of hate speech and online harm can be considered as a defect caused by the developed internet world and quick information flow, and have become a growing concern in recent years. The efficient control and management of hate speech and online harm have become an urgent need.

 The article will try to find out some reasons that probably bring about the issue of hate speech and analyze the relationship between hate speech and the political system and national internet censorship. Taking China and the United States as examples to analyze the generation of hate speech and the control of hate speech under different political management systems, and finally aims to point out that the effective management and reduction of hate speech and online harms is closely related to the relevant national political systems, internet censorship and strict management of platforms, and closed political systems and strict censorship and management of platforms are effective in reducing hate speech and online harms.

 What are hate speech and the reasons for its appearance

The definition of hate speech can be denoted as a type of speech that is sufficiently harmful to be regulated, in contrast to types of insulting or offensive speech that should not.(Tone, 2022) More specifically, it involves three important attributions. Generally, however, hate speech is any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons based on race, religion, skin color sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.

In this stage of the prevalence of the Internet, updated information and news are presented on various platforms at an unstoppable speed every day. Unlike the past period of lack of technology, the Internet as an important platform for information flow has greatly expanded people’s horizons. However, at the same time, people of different races, cultural backgrounds, and ideologies meet through the Internet platform, which inevitably brings about collisions between different ideas and identities, especially those who have opposite positions. The internet platform gives people an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas freely and allows them to post some content with insult, injury, and discrimination for people who are different from their identities or have different opinions, for example, racism, which may be the cause of some hate speech. Moreover, the enormous pressure of life and work in daily life makes some people seek opportunities and reasons to give vent to their frustration and angry feelings, even if these ‘abusers” may not discriminate against or hate the victims indeed, they are intentionally attacking and insulting others for relaxing themselves. The relative research shows that the main motive (7 out of 10 people) for hating is the opportunity to relieve the tension and getting rid of frustration. Half of the cases of aggressive behavior are aimed at random people. Another reason for hate speech in cyberspace is the desire to hurt and humiliate people.

      One of the great advantages of engaging in these harmful behaviors through the virtual world of the internet is that they have no impact on real life. In other words, the perpetrators are not held accountable for their actions, since some hate speech might only be a couple of simple insulting words, and no one knows what the person who said it is really like in reality. 

  “We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity’. (John,1996)

American Policy and Hate Speech 

It is well known that the United States is a country that advocates freedom of speech, with laws that explicitly protect the rights of citizens’ right to freedom of expression. Besides the U.S. follows the roles of combining free thoughts and free markets which aims to expand international trade and strengthen worldwide soft power. Therefore, a free and open internet policy has become the key to achieving the aim.

 “The United States accounted for 33.3% of the world’s internet users in 2002 (Flew, 2002, p. 85), and most of the world’s major information technology companies – certainly all those associated with the ‘new economy’ – were headquartered in the United States. ”((Flew et al., 2022))

However, as a multi-ethnic colonial state, the United States is inherently characterized by many issues of culture and identity, and with this policy of freedom and openness, problems arise as people enjoy a high degree of freedom of thought and expression. For instance, hate speech and online harassment are prominent in the U.S. The case of hate speech on Facebook and Twitter is already well-known. Moreover, hate speech and harm related to racial discrimination account for a high majority. This website has documented some of the most recent typical hate crimes in the United States from 2019 to 2023, and it can be seen that the motivation for most crimes is racism. Taking the case in Texas on February 8, 2023, as an example, there were 23 deaths and 22 injuries in this criminal record because of racism. In fact, according to the survey, more than half of all hate crimes in 2020 will be racially motivated .

protest march against hate speech

When the developed internet and social media create a good platform for these discriminations, it intensifies the emergence of conflicts. According to Time News statistics, in the third quarter of 2019, more than 7 million hate speeches appeared and were removed by the platforms.

Therefore, the high frequency of hate speech cases in the US is inseparable from their liberal and open policy.

Policy and Censorship in China

In contrast, even though China has the largest internet user base in the world, which perhaps is because it is the world’s most populous country and has a rapidly growing economy, it is rare to see news and cases of hate speech in China with such a large user base. One of the reasons is that unlike the US and some other Western countries, China has a strict internet censorship system. For foreign platforms, China’s firewalls block many websites around the world, and for the local internet, the relevant online management system is closely related to China’s political system. As China is an authoritarian one-party state, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has absolute authority and under this political system, to maintain the stability and unity of such a populous country, China does not allow freedom of speech. If some news and statements threaten the peaceful reunification of the country, they will be strongly suppressed and forbidden to spread.

Furthermore, the platform’s strict censorship system will also eliminate the appearance of biased speech. From a platform governance perspective, topics such as discrimination on politics, race, religion, and so on are classified as sensitive content and any sensitive content is rejected at the post-publication review stage before it is made public, which means it is almost impossible to see some hate speech in Chinese public social media.

Take Weibo for example, the platform of Weibo in China is like a combination of Facebook and Instagram, both as social platforms with a large number of personal users, and involves several commercials and advertisements to make profits, and most importantly, it is the best platform for Chinese celebrities to share their lives and interact with their followers. People can use Weibo to keep up with the current hot news, follow celebrities and share their own lives with the public, and so on. According to statistics, there were more than 450 million Weibo users until March 2020. Therefore, strict roles and management are essential for a platform with a big user base. Firstly, for the normal users who don’t have a company running behind them, the number of followers of them are generally very small and the content posted by them is hardly seen by many people, as the mechanism of Weibo only facilitates those celebrities to attract traffic or has a commercial purpose of data hype, but even then, private users will encounter the same censorship when posting some content, and if it involves any sensitive content, the posted content will be simply hidden by the platform. Secondly, Weibo has a promotion function, if you are willing to spend some money, the content you post will have a chance to be seen by more people, this function will involve the official formal censorship process, when you choose this function, the system will send you the reply within 30 minutes, this process will be more strict and if the content does not pass the examination, the platform will just give you a vague explanation such as the content refers to the sensitive topic or it is not suitable for being public. In many cases, the content does not involve any political-related topics, which is just a daily diary, the review is still rejected for one or two words, such as “podium”. Therefore, with such strict platform censorship, hate speech cannot appear on Chinese online platforms.

Weibo holds a big party for Chinese celebrities

From the western perspective, this kind of policy and regulation is not only strict but can even be considered as closed and contrary to the right to free and equal citizenship. However, it must be admitted that this strict and even closed system of regulation is helpful to reduce hate speech.

In fact, there is another type of online speech that may result in severe results which are considered as online violence appropriately which does not involve a sensitive topic but which causes harm to individuals and ultimately results in tragic cases, such as the case study.

However, how to regulate and reduce this phenomenon is perhaps a bigger challenge for China’s internet regulation.


In conclusion, this article briefly analyses some of the reasons for the emergence of hate speech, and takes China and the United States as examples, pointing out that the political system and censorship of a country are related to the occurrence and frequency of hate speech, and in fact, under a relatively closed political system and strict censorship like China, the emergence of hate speech can be effectively reduced.

Reference list

Tone, S. (2022, November 23). How hate speech falls through the cracks of the Chinese internet. #SixthTone. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from

Online hate and harassment: The american experience 2021. ADL. (2021, March 23). Retrieved April 11, 2023, from

Online hate and harassment: The american experience 2021. ADL. (2021, March 23). Retrieved April 11, 2023, from

United Nations. (n.d.). What is hate speech? United Nations. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from

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