China's courts put live graft info online
                 English.news.cn | 2013-12-04 16:45:31 | Editor: An

BEIJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- More court cases, especially corruption trials, will make increased use of social media, a spokesman for the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said on Wednesday.

Microblogs of real-time information will become a common practice for Chinese courts, said Sun Jungong, the SPC spokesman, when asked if the handling of the trial of Bo Xilai had set a precedent for other graft cases.

Bo, the 64-year-old former secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Chongqing Municipal Committee and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

In August, the Jinan Intermediate People's Court posted live reports from Bo's trial, including audio and video files of evidence, transcripts and pictures, on a microblog account at Sina Weibo. Many of the items were reposted tens of thousands of times.

Sun said that while such practices will become more standard, they may not be applied to every case involving corrupt officials.

"We will consider different situations of different cases and try to find the best way to keep the public informed," said Sun, at a briefing with media and citizens invited to visit the SPC on Wednesday morning.

Public supervision via the Internet is now the most important channel to monitor the obstruction of justice, Sun said. In recent years, Internet activities have prompted courts move faster in response to public inquiries about court officials' disciplinary violations or other procedural problems.

In a major move to promote judicial transparency, courts will use both traditional and new media to publish trial information whenever convenient and easy to access for the public, he said.

"A courtroom cannot hold every citizen who wants to hear a trial. Through new media like microblogs and WeChat, we can all observe without being present. If someone does not have time to follow the live updates, our video documents will be available online indefinitely," Sun said.

Last month, the SPC opened official accounts on Sina Weibo and WeChat, two leading social media tools, and now has about 240,000 followers on Weibo.

The SPC will improve its accounts on social media and make it an important platform to hear public opinion and solve problems, Sun said.

Last week, the SPC broadcast an appeal case on monopolies and unfair practices between Internet giants Qihoo 360 and Tencent through TV, radio and microblog.

Dec. 4 is a national day to promote rule of law in China. The current Constitution was adopted on Dec. 4, 1982, a few years after the end of the Cultural Revolution when chaotic and lawless governance almost crippled the country.

On Wednesday morning, as part of the SPC's actions to mark the day, a group of citizens and journalists were invited to observe a hearing in the Qihoo 360-Tencent case and witness an oath ceremony, in which all SPC judges, led by chief justice Zhou Qiang, took an oath in front of the national flag.

Opening the courtroom to the public is a key step toward judicial transparency. Hopefully the move, though limited in its first time, will become the routine, said Shi Shusi, a senior editor with the Workers' Daily.

"Only by opening the door to the public can we put judicial practice 'under the sun' to end under-the-table dealings and realize judicial justice," he said. "This is an inevitable trend of social development."

He called for more interaction between the SPC's microblog account and the public so that new media can be better used by authorities to solicit public opinion and build public credibility.

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