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China Daily Website

Supreme People's Court creates microblog, WeChat account

Updated: 2013-11-22 07:45
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - The Supreme People's Court (SPC) of China on Thursday created official accounts on Sina Weibo and WeChat, two of the country's leading social media tools, marking its efforts to promote judicial transparency.

Nearly 76,000 Weibo users had become fans of the SPC on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like service, by 3 pm after it published its first post around 10 am to announce the opening of the account.

In its second post, the SPC released a document on building an improved mechanism to eliminate false charges in legal cases.

Measures in the document include ruling out confessions obtained from the accused through torture, which includes subjecting the suspect to cold, hunger, thirst, burns, fatigue and other illegal means.

Death penalty cases should have adequate evidence, the SPC said in the document, and courts must not yield to pressure from the media or "unreasonable petitioning by litigants."

Both Weibo and WeChat have hundreds of millions of users in China.

A statement from the SPC website said the new media accounts signal the SPC's steps to boost openness, value public opinions and widen the channel for the masses to oversee judicial authorities, which are in line with the spirit of the recent Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Netizens hailed it as "a milestone for China's rule of law," and suggested the SPC lend ears to the grassroots voices in the comments posted on the court's microblog account. Some also pointed out that the Supreme People's Procuratorate should follow suit.

The SPC's statement said the move is aimed at building an Internet platform for judicial transparency and public service in order to increase interactions between the courts and the masses.

The Weibo and WeChat accounts will release important trial information from the SPC and local courts, judicial interpretations, and key documents, and will "take initiative to respond to social concerns," it said, adding that some information from the SPC website will also appear on its Weibo and WeChat accounts.

The SPC also asked subordinate courts to explore and enhance the use of new media in order to strengthen communication with the public, promote transparency, justice, judicial image and credibility.

In August, Chinese and foreign media hailed the openness and transparency showed by the real-time online broadcasts and updates from Bo Xilai's trial in the Jinan Intermediate People's Court. The 64-year-old former secretary of the 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.

The Jinan court tweeted hundreds of real-time posts on the trial proceedings, including transcripts, pictures and audio and video files of evidence, on its official Weibo account, which currently has more than 526,000 followers. Many of the posts and court pictures have been retweeted tens of thousands of times.

Using new media for timely and accurate disclosure of important trial information greatly satisfies public concern, analysts said.

"Through the real-time posts, we feel like we are present at the hearing," said Xie Youping, head of Fudan University's justice and litigation system research center, in August, adding that "such openness and transparency have never happened in similar cases in the past."

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