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China Daily Website

Netizens get a glimpse of country's top court

Updated: 2012-12-05 02:23
By ZHAO YINAN ( China Daily)

Duan Xiumin, 65, banged a gavel on Tuesday, 30 years after her last court hearing.

With a backpack over her shoulders, the retired judge was very excited as she sat in the chair of the presiding judge, not in the small city court that she used to work at, but in a tribunal of the Supreme People's Court.

The silver-haired woman was one of more than 50 netizens who got the chance to visit the country's top court, which is located just a few hundred meters from Tian'anmen Square.

Netizens get a glimpse of country's top court

Duan Xiumin, retired judge from Shiyan, Hubei province, relives her time on the bench at the Supreme People's Court in Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo by WANG JING / CHINA DAILY]

The judicial organ, not usually open to the public, opened its doors for the first time to netizens on its annual open day, which falls on Dec 4.

The Supreme People's Court has invited the public to tour the building on its annual open day since 2009. Last December, young people were invited as guests.

He Nenggao, director of the top court's media office, said inviting netizens to visit the court is meant to promote judicial transparency and indicates a willingness by the court to take online public opinion seriously.

Wearing a camera around her neck, Duan was busy looking around and taking photos during the visit.

"I'll post the pictures on my blog and share the experience with more netizens," she said.

Duan said when she was working in a court there were no well-equipped courtrooms and judges had to hear trials in conference rooms.

"Even our nameplates were handwritten," she said. "And at that time the legal system was incomplete. I referred to Party documents instead of laws when giving a verdict."

In order to secure a place in the tour group, Duan said she filled in an online form at xinhuanet.com. Other visitors said they had to answer questions by telephone, such as why the visit was important to them, because competition for a space was heated.

A total of 18 websites accepted applications to take part in the visit from netizens. Successful candidates were required to cover their own travel costs and accommodation in Beijing.

Gan Lin, a postgraduate student majoring in medical science, was chosen by editors at china.org.cn from dozens of applicants.

"She said she wants to become a lawyer specializing in medical disputes after graduation, so I think the exposure to the judicial system is necessary for her future career," said Li Huihe, editor of the website.

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