LLAW6304 & JDOC6304

General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6304 / JDOC6304
Course name: Governing Online Platforms: Law, Economics and Politics
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credit / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

In the past two decades, we have witnessed extraordinary growth in the number of online platforms in China and the rest of the world.  Governing these platforms, however, poses a daunting task for both the platform operators and state regulators. This course simultaneously explores three dimensions of the governance of online platforms.  The first dimension is public governance, as state regulators are applying stricter scrutiny over various aspects of the platform businesses. We will survey the major Chinese laws and regulations that have been applied to platform businesses, such as financial regulation, consumer protection law, antitrust law and data protection law. We then compare the legal developments in China and other major jurisdictions such as the EU and the United States.  The second dimension is private governance.  We will survey the internal mechanisms developed by Chinese online platforms to govern users. We will also examine the intriguing phenomenon of platform decentralization, where Chinese online platforms engage their own users to participate in rulemaking and dispute resolution. The third dimension is foreign governance.  Given the escalating geopolitical tensions between China and the West, Chinese online platforms are facing increasing scrutiny from foreign regulators over national security and competition issues (e.g., TikTok and WeChat).  We will explore the legal challenges posed to Chinese online platforms and examine how they are navigating these challenges. In addition to introducing students to the legal issues surrounding platform governance, this course will also guide students to analyze the potential overlaps and conflicts between each of the above governance models, the underlying political and economic institutions that have driven the development of these governance models, as well as the associated economic and financial consequences.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Angela Zhang angelaz@hku.hk CCT 913 By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Describe and explain the basic theories of platform governance.

CLO 2 Understand the various legal issues in relation to the public, private and foreign governance of Chinese online platforms.

CLO 3 Understand the underlying political and economic institutions in fostering the development of each form of platform governance.

CLO 4 Apply the knowledge and understanding of the legal issues to analyze new issues arising from platform governance.

CLO 5 Demonstrate an awareness of the impact of governance on platform development and innovations in China.

2.2 LLM and JD Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link:

LLM – https://course.law.hku.hk/llm-plo/

JD – https://course.law.hku.hk/jd-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Class participation N/A 15% 5 1, 2, 4
Group presentation 27 Apr 2023 15% 2 1, 2, 4
Final essay 16 May 2023 70% 2 2, 3, 5
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/